width=215Kids prefer flavored milk. It's pretty obvious, right? When given the choice, not many kids choose regular milk over chocolate. This, no doubt, raises the concern of increased sugar in the diet of school-age kids. The National Dairy Council has recently published news that negates this concern. Studies show that kids who aren't offered flavored milk at school simply choose not to drink milk at all.

The impact of this study is larger than it seems at first glance. Reportedly, 58 schools were included and each one exhibited dramatic drops in milk consumption when flavored milk was taken off the breakfast and lunch menus. Some schools boasted a 50 percent drop, although the average was 35 percent. It occurred to me that perhaps the kids just needed to get used to their new options. Strangely, the study didn't see any rise in the percentage of milk-drinkers even after a year or more of partaking in the study.

If kids refuse to drink regular milk, we could always supplement their diets with other food that contains the same nutrients, right? Although this is a decent and well-thought out solution, it doesn't really work. In trying to do this, their diet would incorporate more fat and calories, which actually increases the risk of obesity. Furthermore, it could cost up to $4,600 more a year to feed every 100 students.

The good news is that adding chocolate (or strawberry, vanilla, banana, etc.) to milk is a reasonable way to enjoy it. Studies indicate that kids drink less soda and juice when allowed flavored milk as an alternative. Overall, this actually decreases their daily sugar intake and provides a better path for long-term health. By offering options at school, we're allowing kids the opportunity to incorporate nine important nutrients into their diet. Calcium is the most well-known component of milk but milk also contains Vitamins A, D, B12, potassium, magnesium, protein and other nutrients.

Let's just give the kids their chocolate milk. It will do a lot more good than harm. What do you guys think? Is flavored milk better than nothing?

Reprinted from DietsinReview