With winter approaching, ice-cold milk on ice-cold days may not sound as appealing as it does in the heat of the summer. Surprisingly, milk sales actually increase throughout the winter months.
Milk is a staple in many comfort dishes created for the long nights of winter. So, while drinking ice-cold milk may not be a current seasonal choice, enjoying milk in hot winter beverages is still showing to be an American favorite.
All dairy milk, whether served warm or cold, contains 13 essential nutrients the body needs. These nutrients include calcium, vitamin D and potassium, all of which are nutrients of concern within American diets.
“The dairy case has something for everyone. There are many varieties of milk, including low-fat and fat-free, as well as lactose-free options,” said registered dietitian Monica Nyman. “Adding milk to a favorite hot beverage is a simple way to work these 13 essential nutrients into a busy day.”
Coffee has proven year after year to be the most popular hot beverage, with over 60% of Americans drinking it every day. There are many variations of the caffeinated drink, and most of them contain milk. As the FDA recommends a daily caffeine intake of 400 mg a day or less (about four cups of coffee), coffee offers many opportunities to boost dairy consumption.
The latte, a combination of an espresso shot and steamed milk, continues to stay atop the leaderboard of favorite American coffee drinks. Cappuccino is another coffee and milk beverage that layers espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk. Additional coffee favorites include the macchiato, flat white and mocha and all have milk as an ingredient.
In recent years, milk and cream-based coffee drinks have become increasingly popular, allowing individuals to creatively increase their dairy intake.
Coffee and caffeinated beverages are not alone when it comes to hot dairy drinks enjoyed during the winter months.
Hot chocolate is another classic dairy drink that is easy to prepare. Adding cocoa mixture to a mug of hot milk is a tasty and comforting way to warm up on a cold winter day — for kids and adults. Making homemade hot chocolate mixes is also a perfect activity for a snowy day. Try adding peppermint, cinnamon or whipped topping for a fun new take on the classic dairy drink.
“Sipping a warm winter beverage that includes milk, such as a latte, hot chocolate, or even just a warm glass of milk at the end of the day, can help increase important nutrients,” said Nyman.
Consuming a dairy drink with at least one cup of milk puts an individual one step closer to getting three servings of dairy a day.