The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Chocolate”

The Official Drink of Halloween


Recipe of the Week

Tis’ the season for jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and goblins! I still remember dressing up as Cinderella in a big white princess dress and going door to door saying ‘trick-or-treat’ hoping to end up with a bucket full of goodies at the end of the night. Now, I love opening up my door to trick-or-treaters and filling their bags with delicious treats. However, treats don’t have to be sticky, gooey candy. The words “healthy” and “Halloween” don’t appear to fit together in the same sentence but can!

Official Drink of HalloweenIn fact, the official drink of Halloween is chocolate milk. Both nutritious and delicious, chocolate milk is nutrition in disguise with nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Research has shown that children who drink flavored milk are more likely to meet daily calcium recommendations compared to their peers who do not drink flavored milk. No need to worry about the sugar in chocolate milk either. Flavored milk contributes less than 2% of the total added sugar to the average teen’s diet. Sodas and fruit drinks, on the other hand, account of for 50% or more, delivering much less nutrition in the process. Kids who drink flavored milk increase their nutrient intake without higher intakes of added sugars and total fat.

Be sure to include chocolate milk in your Halloween festivities this year with these fun tips:

  • Fuel up your kiddos for a night of trick-or-treating by providing them with a healthy and nutritious glass of chocolate milk at the family table before heading out the door.
  • Hand out samples of chocolate milk to trick-or-treaters that come to your house.
  • Serve chocolate milk during school Halloween celebrations.
  • Warm-up chocolate milk for a delicious snack on Halloween night.

Danielle Sovinski

Danielle Sovinski is the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the American Dairy Association Indiana. She enjoys cooking and taking long walks with her husband and dog, Elly. Check out or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @INDairy.

Tip of the Week: Dark Chocolate Valentine

Collection of chocolates

Featured recipe

Have you ever sat down with a bag of Dove’s chocolates nearby and after a few minutes realized that the table was littered with more than one crumpled wrapper?  Nope, me either 🙂  What I have noticed is that inside those foils are really cute (and sometimes challenging) comments. One I have taped up in my work space reads, “Keep the promises you make yourself.”

With these words in mind and Valentine’s Day just a week or so away, thoughts definitely turn to chocolate. And then the sneaking glances begin because just a short five weeks ago, I made a better health commitment. I intended to exercise more.

I was excited to read this article in Women’s Health which revealed that there are several health benefits to eating dark chocolate (note, NOT milk chocolate, or chocolate chips, but DARK chocolate.)

– About a square of dark chocolate a day may lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent

– Dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods and may make you feel more full

– Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonoids, both tied to super foods

– Women who ate chocolate daily during their pregnancy handled stress than mothers-to-be who abstained (these women’s babies were also happier and smiled more than those who avoided dark chocolate)

– When dealing with stress, dark chocolate may help people deal with emotional eating better than a pint of ice cream

– Dark chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical responsible for chocolate’s feel-good effect

Imagine my excitement to read that dark chocolate (my favorite) could be doing me more good than harm. Of course, eating the whole bag is probably not good! As always, moderation is most appropriate. Be an example for those who sit around your table and eat just one chocolate (and then throw the wrapper* away, of course!)  Children learn most of their attitudes about food from their parents.  It’s human nature to love sweets, but we can teach our children to enjoy sweets in moderation.


Frances Brooks
Director of Operations & Business Development

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