My niece is a very picky eater, and apparently equally picky when it comes to beverages. It is not uncommon for her mom to pack her a lunch or dinner when they go to family gatherings or eat a meal right before they come. Over the years something that I have seen with her is a single serving of chocolate milk or more regularly strawberry milk. I do not recall drinking store bought strawberry milk as a kid and not at all as an adult but I do have a fond appreciation for a strawberry smoothie so I understand the appeal. When I was a kid we had a huge strawberry patch in the garden and had strawberry smoothies regularly in the summer. I am sure that strawberry milk from the grocery store fridge does not compare to a fresh strawberry smoothie, but tastes aside I wanted to know what such a drink had to offer nutritiously. More importantly I wanted to know if strictly nutrition speaking strawberry milk was better for my niece than chocolate milk.
When I peered into the milk fridge at the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk I saw some single servings of strawberry and chocolate milk containers from Nesquik. The lack of stock suggests that they are popular and I decided to examine them. Both contain 16 ounces, which contains about two adult servings. This explains why my niece is seen drinking from the bottle for a huge part of the day. This could be a problem on hot days. As a precaution if your child has had his or her fill of the milk drink it should be placed in the refrigerator as soon as possible. In each serving of the chocolate milk there is 150 calories with no calories from fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 400 milligrams of potassium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugars and 8 grams of protein. Additionally, the chocolate milk list vitamin A with 10%, iron with 2%, vitamin D with 25% and calcium with 40% in each serving. In the strawberry milk there is 180 calories with 25 calories from fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 400 milligrams of potassium, 31 grams of total carbohydrates, 30 grams of sugars and 8 grams of protein in each serving. Vitamin A was listed with 10%, calcium was listed with 40% and vitamin D was listed with 25% for a serving of the strawberry milk as well. Seeing such initial differences for the two drinks I wondered how the ingredients would compare.
As I continued to read I saw that the two beverages actually had some similar ingredients but there were some distinctive differences that instantly turned me off of one. The chocolate milk consists of nonfat milk with vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D3 added, sugar, less than 2% of cocoa processed with alkali, calcium carbonate, cellulose gel, natural and artificial flavors, salt, carrageenan, and cellulose gum. The strawberry milk has lowfat milk with vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D3 added, sugar, less than 2% of calcium carbonate, cellulose gel, artificial flavors, carrageenan, cellulose gum, citric acid, salt, red 40 and blue 1. I was disappointed to see that my niece’s choice of drink had artificial colors and I was equally disappointed to see that they both contained artificial flavors as well. Furthermore the fact that they had cellulose gel and cellulose gum, two substances that are used to create a thicker substance and extend shelf life, since both can attribute to cramps and diarrhea. Furthermore they are not traditional milk ingredients.
Here is my assessment of chocolate milk and strawberry milk. If you are going off of nutrition facts choose the chocolate milk, it contains less calories, cholesterol, sugars and offers some iron. If you are going off of the ingredients choose the chocolate milk as it does not have any artificial colors, plus non-organic strawberries are one of the worst kind of non-organic foods you can eat because their thin skins are easily penetrated by all of the pesticides used on them. However, if you want to find a healthy beverage for your child I would look elsewhere. Consider finding something that offers vitamin C in addition to calcium and protein. If you are at home then make your child a smoothie with fresh fruit and milk, which will add lots of vitamin C and naturally make the drink a fun color and not contain unnecessary artificial ingredients. Again if you have to choose between the two I would reluctantly recommend the chocolate milk. If you are currently consuming these it might be in your interest to scope out if other brands have more desirable ingredients and nutrition facts or embrace fresh smoothies if it is an option for you.