Though I know cow’s milk is by no means an essential part of a kid’s healthy diet, I — like many moms before me — find it a convenient source of lots of good nutrients for my kiddos. There are days when even my kale-loving child grazes from nutrition-less bagel breakfasts to pasta and butter dinners, with a cupcake or grilled cheese thrown in between. On those kind of days, the 1950s mom in me does feel better knowing a cup of low fat milk has graced my son’s body.
Which would be great if either of my kids actually drank milk beyond the cookie-dunk or cereal topper.
Milk intake got a boost in my house recently after we finally tried the trend of flavored straws, which premiered in Spring of 2011. The “Magic Milk Straws” are recyclable plastic straws filled with little beads — okay, let’s be honest here, they are little candy beads. You stick the straw in your milk and the milk is sucked up through the straw, collecting flavor along the way. The beads don’t actually come out of the straw, but dissolve to mildly sweeten the milk.
The trend has gone mainstream in my kitchen, starting with the very basic flavors:
According to the manufacturer’s website, the straws are all natural (no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives), gluten-free, low in sugar, lactose free (you can use them in soy or Lactaid milk), fat-free, cholesterol-free and safe for people with corn, nut and soy allergies.
So what is in these straws?
I had to look at the actual packaging because the Got Milk! Magic Milk Straws website neglects to list out the ingredients and nutritional facts, even under its “Nutrition” tab. An oversight by the the very smart folks behind the Got Milk! campaign? I think not.
The ingredients in the chocolate flavor include: sugar, cocoa powder, glucose syrup, water, dextrose, chocolate flavor. That’s not exactly a hit parade of health food, but considering each straw gets my kids to drink an entire cup of milk they wouldn’t otherwise sip, I think I can live with the four grams of sugar (about 1 teaspoon) and undeclared flavorings, as an occasional (a few times a week) enticement to drink milk.
Got Milk? offers this somewhat convincing comparison chart:
Would I rather my kids drink plain milk instead of using a flavored straw? Yes.
Would I rather my kids drink water plus a perfectly-balanced diet of foods that made drinking milk totally unnecessary? Sure.
Until that happens, I’m willing to live with the straws.
Where to Find: I have spotted Magic Milk Straws at Target, Walmart and iParty. I’ve been tempted to buy the 48 pack canister of mixed varieties too, though I’ve skipped it since many reviewers complained that their packs included only strawberry straws.