Is Chocolate Milk Better Than White Milk For Kids?

  • Article
  • 2 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

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.

According to a national nutrition survey in the U.S., flavored milk contributes only 4% of added sugars to the diets of children ages 2 to 18 years, while soft drinks and non-carbonated sweetened beverages contribute 40% of the added sugars. Furthermore, studies show that consumption of flavored milk is associated with higher total milk consumption and better overall diet quality without any adverse impact on weight.

This is especially important because kids really like flavored milk. A review of 53 different studies showed that flavored milk received the highest palatability rating among children, and children drank more milk when it’s flavored. Studies have also shown that the removal of flavored milk from schools can lead to a decrease in total milk consumption and increase in milk waste. That means fewer kids may not get the nutrients their bodies need to grow and develop. It’s difficult to match milk’s nutrient combination and would likely require more food groups, calories and cost.

How much should children drink? The recommendations for dairy foods are 3 cups per day. An 8-ounce glass of dairy milk counts as one cup.

When you look at it that way, there’s no doubt that flavored milks can be a winning addition to your child’s diet—and yours too! Whether your child likes flavored or unflavored milk, you can feel confident your child is getting the nutritious and delicious beverage they need when they reach for their favorite milk.