Most children love milk. But for some, milk loses out to sugary soft drinks or high calorie juice drinks. But there is a way to get your children to drink milk and love it just as much as the competition.
Female Speaker: With all the beverage choices children have these days, it can be difficult to get them to drink as much milk as they should. As a result, many children are lacking calcium and other nutrients in their diet. So what are most parents doing about it? They're adding flavor who says that a milk mustache has to be white? Jeff and Shellie Donow know firsthand how hard it can be to get kids to drink milk. The only way they can get their three young ones to drink it is by adding flavor. Shellie Donow: I feel better about giving them flavored milk than Coke or some of those fruit drinks that's mostly sugar. At least they're getting vitamins and they need the strong bones. Female Speaker: Children need, on average, three servings a day of dairy in order to build and maintain strong bones, and flavored milk is an excellent way to do that. Some parents may worry about the sugar in flavored milk, but Doctor Rachel Johnson says that's not a problem. Dr. Rachel Johnson: Children who consumed flavored milk had no higher added sugar intakes than children who weren't consuming flavored milk. The main reason for this was that the children who consumed flavored milk were actually drinking fewer soft drinks and fewer fruit flavored drinks. Shellie Donow: My kids think it's a real treat if they can make the milk themselves and they want to contribute to their drinks so they'll stir it up with a spoon, or sometimes I'll give them a funny straw to use. Female Speaker: Jane Petrillo, a mother of two, encourages her children to drink milk in the flavors they love. Jane Petrillo: The only way I can get my children to drink milk is to flavor it in some way with the chocolate or strawberry. They are getting just as much nutrition drinking the flavored milk as they would with the non-flavored milk. It's just the flavor that's added. Female Speaker: The experts agree. Dr. Rachel Johnson: Flavored milk contains the whole nutrient package that's in regular white milk. It's a great source of calcium, of protein, of phosphorus, of vitamin D. Female Speaker: Both white and flavored milks contain key nutrients that perform important functions necessary for growing bodies. Proteins help build and repair body tissue. Carbohydrates supply energy to the body. Calcium and phosphorus help build bones and strengthen teeth. Vitamin A helps the skin stay smooth and soft. Vitamin B12 helps prevent anemia and Vitamin D aids in bone development and the absorption of calcium. Today, children are drinking two and a half times as much soda and fruit juice as they are milk. This means they're cheating themselves of essential nutrients just when their developing bodies need them the most. In fact, nine out of ten teenage girls and seven out of ten teenage boys are not meeting their calcium needs. Dr. Rachel Johnson: I'm very concerned about the changing beverage consumption patterns of American children. In 1945, Americans drank four times as much milk as they did soft drinks. Female Speaker: For most children, a drop in milk consumption patterns occurs between the ages of nine and thirteen. When they're first introduced to other beverage choices in their school lunchrooms or vending machines, but Rachel Johnson says vending machines aren't all bad. Dr. Rachel Johnson: We are starting to see a trend of milk vending machines containing regular and flavored milk in schools that are accessible to children. Female Speaker: Research has shown that schools that offer students cold, flavored milk as part of the school meal program, and in vending machines, can increase their students' calcium and nutrient intake an average of 18%. Research also shows that the only children who come close to meeting their daily calcium requirements are those who drink milk at lunchtime. Dr. Rachel Johnson: And I think that we're going to see this trend increase as more and more schools and parents become concerned about the quality of children's diets. Female Speaker: Parents and teachers can help by requesting that their schools offer broader access to a variety of flavored milks both in and out of the cafeteria. They can also encourage schools to replace vending machines that contain beverages offering little nutritional value, with those containing milk. By giving children access to fun, easy-to-open containers of ice-cold milk in the flavors they crave, we can go a long way towards helping them make the right nutritional choices.