Is Chocolate Milk Better Than White Milk For Kids?

  • Article
  • 3 min read March 6, 2024

This article was reviewed by Megan Maisano, MS, RDN

Parents want what’s best for their children, and that holds true for what they eat and drink. Sometimes there are misperceptions about chocolate or other flavored dairy milks and how they stack up to unflavored dairy milk.

Chocolate Milk vs. Regular Milk

Both chocolate milk and regular milk offer these same 13 essential nutrients for health: 

  • Calcium: For healthy bones and teeth 
  • Protein: For muscle and immune health 
  • Vitamin D: For strong bones and teeth, and immune health  
  • Vitamin A: For skin, eye and immune health 
  • Pantothenic Acid: For converting food to fuel 
  • Vitamin B12: For immune, blood and nervous system health 
  • Riboflavin: For converting food to fuel  
  • Phosphorus: For healthy bones, teeth and tissue  
  • Iodine: For early brain development  
  • Selenium: For immune health   
  • Zinc: For skin and immune health  
  • Potassium: For healthy blood pressure and heart health  
  • Niacin: For converting food to fuel  

To get that sweet chocolatey flavor, chocolate milk also contains sugar and cocoa, which increases the calories, carbohydrates and added sugar content. Below is a comparison of regular lowfat milk (1%) and chocolate lowfat milk (1%): 


Low-Fat Milk (1%)

Low-Fat Chocolate Milk (1%)





13 grams 

~21-26 grams 

   Added Sugars 

0 grams 

~8-13 grams 


Chocolate Milk Can Fit in Healthy Diets 

Here’s the deal: Both low-fat (or fat-free) chocolate and unflavored milk are great nutritional options for kids. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recognize that a small amount of added sugars, which fall within the daily calorie limit, can be used to increase the appeal of nutrient-rich foods such as milk. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also reports that milk and yogurt products (combined) contribute only 4% of added sugars to American diets. Besides this small contribution of added sugar, chocolate milk contains all the same nutrients as white milk.

Chocolate Milk and Kids

Studies have shown that flavored milk can play an important role in overall healthy dietary patterns of children and adolescents, contributing important nutrients without any adverse effect on weight. This is especially important because kids really like flavored milk.

A review of 53 different studies showed flavored milk received the highest palatability rating among children, and children drank more milk when it was flavored. Children who drink flavored milk also consume higher amounts of fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins A, D, B12 and riboflavin (B2) compared to non-flavored milk drinkers, according to national nutrition survey data.

Removing flavored milk from schools can decrease total milk consumption and increase milk waste. That means fewer kids may get the nutrients their bodies need to grow and develop. It’s difficult to match milk’s nutrient contribution and would likely require more food groups, calories and cost. When you look at it that way, there’s no doubt chocolate milk can be a nutritious part of your child’s diet—and yours too! Whether your child likes flavored or unflavored milk, you can feel confident they are getting a nutritious and delicious beverage.

The recommended amount of milk for children depends on their age: 

  • For children ages 2 through 8, 2 to 2.5 cups per day are recommended.
  • For those ages 9 and older, 3 cups per day are recommended.

Check out this resource for feeding dairy foods to the littlest ones, and you can learn more about a balanced plate and recommended nutrition guidelines at