School Milk

Fresh. Local. Delicious.

Real Milk Adds Real Nutrition to School Meals

All dairy milk has 13 essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D.

Schools can choose to offer white, flavored, fat-free, 1%, and lactose-free milk.

Students with lactose intolerance can enjoy lactose-free milk and get the benefits of real dairy milk.

School Milk & Supply Chain Issues

A two-page handout covering the importance of school meals & milk, current school milk carton supply issue and a list of options to help mitigate some of the supply chain challenges

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For School Nutrition Professionals

School Milk Tips and Key Messages

  • 10 Ways to Encourage Students to Drink Milk

    Explore 10 creative ways to encourage students to drink milk.

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  • 10 School Milk Facts

    Explore 10 School Milk facts from animal care to milk safety.

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Lactose Intolerance

Lactose Intolerance is not the same as a dairy allergy. Many who experience it still enjoy dairy including lactose-free milk.

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Activities and Posters

Promotion Ideas for the Cafeteria

  • Monthly Dairy Promotion Ideas

    Find ideas including holidays, resources, and free give aways to promote dairy in the cafeteria all year.

For School Nutrition Professionals

Education Resources

  • 13 Ways Milk Can Help Your Body

    Milk contains 13 essential nutrients like high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and more.

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  • Kids & Chocolate Milk

    The taste kids love while still providing the same 13 essential nutrients found in white milk.

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  • How Does Your Beverage Stack Up? - Handout

    Handouts that highlights the nutrition real milk offers on its own or added to meals.

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  • Know the Facts About Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose intolerance is not the same as having a milk allergy. Resource answers common questions.
    Available in Spanish.

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  • Continuing Education

    Get your training and educational needs met with our live and recorded webinars on dairy nutrition.

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Recorded SNA Webinar: Let's Talk School Milk & Innovation

In this webinar from you will hear about innovative strategies school nutrition professionals are using across the country to help increase meal participation, increase milk consumption and decrease waste. These strategies include the use of shelf-stable milk, introduction of milk dispensers & the importance of milk options. These strategies will be supported by pre- and post-data from schools who have implemented them, along with best practices and tips to get started.

Take milk to the next level

Beyond The Carton

  • Smoothies

    Resources to start Smoothie programs.

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  • Hot Chocolate Milk

    Resources to start Hot Chocolate Milk programs. Put a new twist on chocolate milk.

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  • Bulk Milk

    Bulk milk dispensers help keep milk cold and reduce product and carton waste.

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  • Shelf Stable Milk FAQ

    Learn more about shelf stable milk, its nutrition and safety, and how to handle for storage and service.

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Related FAQs

Why is milk served with school meals?

Milk is required as a part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs because it provides a powerful package of 13 essential nutrients that are good for overall wellness. Schools can choose to offer white and flavored, fat-free and 1% milk, as well as lactose-free milk. Low-fat and fat-free yogurt and cheese can also be part of school meals.

Do students have to take milk with their school meal?

The Healthy Hungry-Free Kid Act, require school meal programs to meet specific nutrition standards. The standards are developed using the latest nutrition science. The school lunch and breakfast programs require milk be offered as part of the meal. While students are generally not required to take it, meals that include milk provide more nutrients than those without.

Is flavored milk a healthy choice?

Consider the following impacts to health and nutrition if milk (flavored or not) is removed from the diet:

  • Milk contains calcium, vitamin D and potassium which are nutrients of concern that most American’s don’t get enough of.
  • On average, by the time children are 6 years old, milk consumption falls below the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended daily servings of dairy.
  • Children in the U.S., who drink flavored milk, do not have higher Body Mass Indices (BMIs) compared to non-drinkers suggesting that flavored milk does not lead to weight gain.
  • Replacing nutrient contribution from milk requires three to four food items but adds back more calories and fat than were originally contributed by milk
  • Additional impacts
What strategies and resources might help me get students to take and drink more milk?

We recognize that getting students to take and drink milk can be a challenge. The following ideas might help depending on the reason for milk being left off (or on) the tray.

I am having issues with the temperature or quality of my milk, what can I do?

Milk taste continues to be a reason students decline to select milk with school meals. Improper storage and service temperature is one factor that can affect milk taste. Watch our Chill Out with Cold Milk webinar recording for tips on how to keep your milk as cold as possible and one free CEU and order our Free Chill Out with Cold Milk Toolkit.

You may need to contact your processor if you experience quality issues that can’t be explained by your handling and storage practices.


Why aren't alternative milk beverages offered at school as part of a reimbursable meal?

Real milk packs in a lot of nutrition, especially protein – it contains 8 grams of protein per 8 oz serving. Allowable milk alternates must first provide at least 8 grams of protein per 8 oz serving and they must contain the following minimum levels of nutrients to ensure they are providing similar nutrition to dairy milk.

Alternative Beverage Requirements 1% Low-fat Milk
Protein 8 g Protein 8 g
Calcium 276 mg Calcium 310 mg
Vitamin D 100 IU Vitamin D 104 IU
Vitamin A 500 IU Vitamin A 500 IU
Potassium 349 mg Potassium 391 mg
Phosphorus 220 mg Phosphorus 253 mg
Magnesium 24 mg Magnesium 29.5 mg
Riboflavin .44 mg Riboflavin .344 mg
Vitamin B12 1.1 mcg (micrograms) Vitamin V12 1.5 mcg (micrograms)

*Alternate beverage reference on page 2

Shouldn’t students be encouraged to drink water instead of milk with school meals?

Water is important for hydration and should be encouraged throughout the day. When water is consumed at meals instead of milk students often miss out on key nutrients they need more of in their diets like calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. The nutrients lost when students choose another beverage are difficult to make up with other foods while keeping to the same amount of calories and fat.

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