Many administrators would agree that nutrition can impact students’ learning in the classroom. Learn a few quick, easy strategies on how adding milk to a student’s meal can have huge impacts.

Why Milk?

Milk is nutrient rich, containing nine essential nutrients your body needs: calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D, B5 and B12, riboflavin and niacin.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified four nutrients of public health concern that Americans are not consuming at adequate levels: calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber. Milk is a good or excellent source of both calcium and vitamin D and is the #1 source of calcium in the American diet, so increasing milk consumption is an easy way to get more of these nutrients.

Kids are making their beverage choices at an early age and when they become teens, they begin experiencing very rapid bone growth, second only to infancy. Results of the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 26.7% of teens had not consumed milk in the last seven days. Meanwhile, only 17.5% of teens had consumed two or more servings of milk per day over that same time period.

With so many different things to drink, it’s more important than ever to make sure your students are getting the most out of their beverage choice.  Here are a few tips that you can incorporate into your district.

  1. Prompt kids to make healthy choices using fun posters, cafeteria contests and attractive food displays.
  2. Schedule recess before lunch. Thirsty kids coming off the playground will drink more milk and have been shown to eat more of their lunch in general.
  3. Provide a variety of milks, including multiple flavors and fat level choices, so that students can choose the milk they prefer to drink. Don’t forget 1% flavored milkis now allowed in all schools.
  4. Try Hot Chocolate Milk with older students or other new programs to generate excitement in the cafeteria.
  5. Extend the lunch period to give students enough time to eat what is on their plates. It takes longer to eat whole, fresh foods.
  6. Encourage milk with mealsand water in between.
  7. Facilitate a healthy dialogue between the school food service department and the school store. Help to ensure that the school store is not competing with school meals and is smart snack compliant. 
  8. Make sure your school has a good wellness policy and be its champion!

Do you want to get started with a healthier school environment?  Are you interested in empowering students to lead change?  Visit www.futp60.com to get started.