Milk is a staple in my house – it’s front and center in the fridge.  I use it in my coffee, cereal, cooking and baking.  I encourage my two teenagers to drink milk every day – and of course, they prefer chocolate milk or on cold days like this, hot chocolate.  The good news is, according to the National Dairy Council, there’s just as much protein, calcium, vitamin D and B-vitamins in flavored milk as plain milk.  Did you know chocolate milk is linked to improved muscle recovery in adolescent athletes?  There are so many good reasons for teens to drink dairy milk – and keeping bones healthy and strong tops the list.

Here I am making friends with a dairy cow on a recent sponsored dairy farm tour outside of Chicago.

It was eye-opening to see the daily operations on the dairy farm.  It was run like a well-oiled machine and the Holstein cows seemed happy and healthy.  I was impressed to learn some of the facts about how the dairy industry is prioritizing sustainability of the planet.  One gallon of milk produced today uses less land, less water, less manure and less greenhouse gas compared to 70 years ago.  Plus, the dairy industry is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.

How much milk should teens drink? 

The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children ages 9 and older get 3 servings of milk, yogurt or cheese every day – a serving equals a cup of milk or yogurt and 1 ½ ounces of cheese.  Unfortunately, research shows that dairy consumption tends to drop when kids enter school and this trend carries forward into teenage years and into adulthood.  How can you encourage your teens to drink another cup of milk every day?  For starters, make milk a tasty and vital part of meals and snacks.

Tasty ways to get teens to drink milk:

  • Pour milk into cold or hot cereal
  • Blend milk into smoothies or shakes
  • Make hot chocolate with milk (see my Simple Hot Chocolate recipe)
  • Stir milk into homemade macaroni and cheese
  • Thicken creamy tomato soup and sauce with milk

My two teenagers, Grant and Sammie, drinking hot chocolate.

I try to get my teens in the kitchen, whenever I can.  If it helps them eat more nourishing foods then it’s a win-win.  It’s super simple for them to whip up hot chocolate.  The best part is this recipe is lower in added sugar (I don’t tell them that, though!) and it’s supped up with antioxidants from the cocoa powder.  Plus, you can use any milk fat content you prefer from whole, 2 percent, 1 percent or skim milk. Lactose-free milk works well, too.

 6-ingredient hot chocolate: milk, cocoa powder, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and smoked paprika 

I am a minimalist when it comes to cooking.  The fewer ingredients, the better.  Feel free to experiment with your hot chocolate by adding chili powder, maca powder or a hint of hot sauce for an extra kick!

Looking for tasty ways to get your teens to drink milk? Try my Spiced Hot Chocolate #recipe #sponsored #undeniablydairy Click To Tweet

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Serves 2


2 cups milk, 2 percent milk fat

4 ounces dark chocolate (65 – 70 percent cocoa) squares or chips

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg, optional


Pour milk into a medium size pot and place on the stove over medium-high heat.  Add in the chocolate and allow it to melt while continually stirring.

Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg.   When hot remove from the heat and stir in half and half for a creamy topper.  Sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg and serve.  Enjoy!

Will this post help you and/or your teens drink milk?  If so, let me know what your favorite take-away was by tagging me @vsrnutrition on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest.  

 Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Midwest Dairy, however all opinions are my own.

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