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Shereen Lehman, MS

Chocolate Milk - a Sports Drink?

By September 27, 2007

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Research from Indiana University suggests that chocolate milk is as good as sports drinks for recovery after intense endurance sports. Does this mean that chocolate milk is a healthy beverage?

I asked Felicia D. Stoler, MS, RD, who was host of the TLC program "Honey We're Killing the Kids" her thoughts:

My kids love chocolate milk... so as a sports drink, it's easy to get them to drink it for post-exercise replenishment... for carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, vitamins & minerals. I'm not surprised by the study...milk is a pretty nutrient dense food with variable fat content. Low fat chocolate milk is great for active people after a workout because its powerful nutrient package provides energy, protein, calcium and seven other essential nutrients (including potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin.)

As we see with other sports beverages, people consume more if it is sweet in flavor! Chocolate milk can be quickly absorbed into the body. There is also great packaging for flavored milk which makes it a great grab'n go snack (we always keep NESQUIK Ready to Drink in the fridge).

Chocolate Milk Cartoon Icon "Quickie" the athletic NESQUIK Bunny will be spreading the word on the importance of exercise and the health benefits of drinking chocolate-flavored milk by running in 6 races - three in NYC and three in LA from the end of September through the beginning of November. Quickie's first race will be in NYC on Saturday, September 29th at the Fifth Avenue Mile.

I asked Ms. Stoler a couple of questions about kids, exercise and weight.

What other foods or beverages can have a similar affect on muscle recovery as chocolate milk and sports drinks?

Replenishment needs are really based upon the duration and intensity of the exercise... for exercise of under an hour, water is usually sufficient. Yogurt & cheese have a similar benefit without as much fluid (wash it down with water). Replenishment of nutrients can also come from foods one would have in a meal... there is not always a need for anything "fancy".

What about childhood obesity? What can we do to help kids watch their weight?

Parents can lead by example... take walks together as a family, ride bicycles, swim, play sports together. Many towns have recreation departments that offer recreational sports & facilities that are low in cost to residents. Additionally, parents should be advocates for regular physical education in schools... no child should be left ON their behind! Turn off the electronics...television, computers, video games, etc. Turn on the music in your house and dance with your kids!

Can you give us some ideas for foods that make tasty healthy snacks, are fun, and that kids of all ages love?

Almost all kids love fruits, cheese, yogurts (especially the squeeze tube or drinkable varieties which are easily transportable)...even pretzels can be a good snack. Popcorn (air popped, microwave... but low fat) and whole grain crackers (a great way to sneak fiber into a kids daily intake). The 100-calorie snack packs are a great way to control portions - as long as kids only eat one or two a day!

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