Is Nesquik with milk healthy?

Nesquik is a popular chocolate powder that is commonly mixed with milk. It provides a sweet chocolate flavor and is often marketed towards children. However, there has been debate around whether Nesquik and chocolate milk are healthy options, especially for kids. This article will analyze the nutrition facts, ingredients, and health effects of drinking Nesquik with milk to determine if it’s a nutritious choice.

Nutrition Facts of Nesquik and Milk

First, let’s look at the basic nutrition facts of Nesquik powder and milk separately before combining them:

Nesquik Nutrition Facts

– Serving size: 2 tbsp (26g)
– Calories: 100
– Fat: 2g
– Saturated fat: 1.5g
– Sodium: 160mg
– Carbohydrates: 21g
– Sugar: 16g
– Protein: 1g

Nesquik powder is high in refined sugar. Two tablespoons provide 16g of sugar, which is about 4 teaspoons. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 25g or 6 teaspoons for women and 36g or 9 teaspoons for men each day.[1] With just one serving, Nesquik powder provides over half of the maximum daily amount.

Milk Nutrition Facts

– Serving size: 1 cup (244g)
– Calories: 146
– Fat: 8g
– Saturated fat: 5g
– Sodium: 376mg
– Carbohydrates: 11g
– Sugar: 12g
– Protein: 8g

Milk provides a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. However, dairy milk also contains saturated fat, sodium, and sugar naturally. Choosing low-fat or fat-free milk options can reduce the amount of saturated fat.

Nutrition Facts of Nesquik and Milk Combined

When Nesquik powder is combined with milk, the nutrition facts change. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts when 1 serving (2 tbsp) of powder is added to 1 cup of 2% reduced fat milk:[2]

– Calories: 246
– Fat: 10g
– Saturated fat: 6.5g
– Sodium: 536mg
– Carbohydrates: 32g
– Sugar: 28g
– Protein: 9g

Adding two tablespoons of Nesquik nearly doubles the amount of sugar compared to plain milk. The total sugar content peaks to 28g, exceeding the maximum daily added sugar recommendations.

Additionally, the calories surpass 200 in one serving, which is considered high for a beverage. The saturated fat and sodium are also increased compared to plain milk.

However, the protein increases to 9g per serving, which is beneficial. The chocolate milk also provides more calcium compared to other sweetened beverages.

So in terms of nutrition facts, Nesquik adds significant amounts of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat compared to plain milk. But it does provide extra protein, calcium, and other micronutrients found naturally in milk.

Ingredients in Nesquik Powder

Beyond the nutrition facts, it’s important to analyze the specific ingredients in Nesquik powder:

– Sugar
– Cocoa processed with alkali
– Calcium carbonate
– Salt
– Caramel color
– Vanillin
– Vitamin C

The first two ingredients are sugar and cocoa processed with alkali. Alkali processing helps optimize the color and taste of chocolate, but destroys the beneficial flavonols found in cocoa.[3]

Nesquik does contain calcium carbonate, which is a good source of calcium. It’s also fortified with vitamin C.

However, the chocolate mix lacks whole food ingredients, antioxidants, fiber, and protein found in higher quality chocolate products. It’s not sweetened with healthier alternatives like maple syrup or dates either.

Overall, the highly processed ingredients in Nesquik raise concerns compared to natural, less processed chocolate options.

Potential Health Benefits

Despite the high amounts of added sugar, there are some potential health benefits associated with drinking Nesquik and milk:

Benefits for Children

Increased calcium and vitamin D intake – Milk is fortified with vitamin D and contains a good amount of calcium, which growing children need for developing strong bones.[4]

More protein – The 9g of protein per serving can help children meet their higher protein needs compared to adults. Protein is vital for building muscle mass.

Enhanced taste and nutrition – Many kids dislike the taste of plain milk. The sweet chocolate flavor may increase milk consumption and the nutrients it provides.

Benefits for Adults

Muscle repair – The chocolate milk provides both carbohydrates to refuel muscles and high-quality protein for muscle repair after a workout. One study found chocolate milk was just as effective as sports drinks for post-exercise recovery.[5]

Hydration – The fluids and electrolytes in milk can help with hydration. Adding chocolate powder provides a tasty, refreshing beverage option.

Brain function – Some of the nutrients in chocolate milk like magnesium, antioxidants, and vitamin B12 may support brain function and cognition. However, more research is needed.[6]

So there are some potential perks to drinking chocolate milk in moderation. It provides more nutrients than sugary sodas or juices. The protein and carbs in chocolate milk can aid workout recovery. And kids may be more inclined to drink milk if it’s chocolate flavored.

However, there are also healthier ways to obtain these benefits through natural sources that don’t spike blood sugar levels.

Potential Health Risks

There are also several potential health risks associated with drinking Nesquik and milk regularly:

Weight gain – The added sugar in chocolate milk can contribute to weight gain over time, especially in children. The extra calories from drinking chocolate milk instead of plain milk or water can lead to obesity.[7]

Diabetes – Frequently consuming beverages high in added sugar is linked to an 18% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.[8] The blood sugar spikes from the sugar in Nesquik may worsen insulin resistance.

Heart disease – The added sugar in chocolate milk raises blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels, increasing risk factors for heart disease.[9] The saturated fat in full-fat dairy milk may also contribute.

Acne – There are links between high glycemic foods, like those containing added sugar, and acne breakouts.[10] The sugar spikes from chocolate milk may exacerbate acne.

Hyperactivity – Although the evidence is mixed, some studies have found sugar can contribute to hyperactive behavior in children.[11] The high amount of sugar in chocolate milk may negatively impact kids’ behavior.

Mood fluctuations – Frequent blood sugar spikes and crashes from sugary beverages may lead to energy crashes, irritability, and mood swings.[12]

The most concerning risk is the high amount of added sugar, which is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and other chronic diseases. Drinking low-fat or fat-free milk would be a healthier choice.

Healthier Alternatives to Chocolate Milk

Fortunately, there are ways to create healthier chocolate milk that doesn’t contain all the processed ingredients and added sugar:

– Make homemade chocolate milk using cacao powder, maple syrup or dates, and milk. The cacao provides antioxidants and you control the amount of added sweetener.

– Buy high-quality premade chocolate milk sweetened with less processed sugars like coconut sugar or maple syrup. Brands like Maple Hill Creamery offer organic options.

– Use cacao nibs or cacao butter blended with milk for a creamy, chocolatey milk with the nutrients from cacao.

– Mix cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder into milk. Then add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla for flavor instead of sugar.

– Blend milk with banana, peanut butter, and cacao powder for a nutrient-rich, kid-friendly “milkshake.”

– Switch to other flavored, protein-rich milks like vanilla almond milk or banana milk that offer nutrients without lots of added sugar.

There are plenty of ways to make chocolate milk healthier at home. The key is choosing less processed, natural ingredients.

Healthy Portion Sizes for Children

If occasionally drinking commercial chocolate milk like Nesquik, it’s important to keep portion sizes in check for children due to the high sugar content:

Ages 2-3 – 4 ounces or 1/2 cup at most per day

Ages 4-8 – 8 ounces or 1 cup at most per day

Older children – Limit to 8-12 ounces daily

Ideally, young children should get the majority of their dairy intake from plain milk and only occasionally consume chocolate milk. Health experts recommend limiting added sugar to under 25g total per day for children ages 4-8.[13] Just one cup of Nesquik chocolate milk contains around 28g sugar.

For older, active children a small 8-12 oz serving of chocolate milk can be an occasional treat. But plain or alternative milks should be the daily go-to for optimal health.

Healthy Portion Sizes for Adults

Adults generally have higher calorie and sugar needs. An appropriate serving size of chocolate milk for an adult depends on factors like:

– Gender
– Age
– Physical activity level
– Health goals
– Dietary preferences

Here are some healthy portion size guidelines for adults:

Women – 8-12 ounces or 1-11⁄2 cups per day max to limit added sugar intake to under 25g per day from the Dietary Guidelines.

Men – 12-16 ounces or 11⁄2-2 cups per day max to keep added sugars under 36g.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women – Up to 16-24 oz or 2-3 cups to help meet higher calorie and nutrient needs, but plain milk is optimal.

Older adults – 8-12 ounces daily due to decreased calorie needs.

Athletes – Up to 16-24 oz depending on exercise duration and intensity to promote recovery. Best within 30 minutes after training.

Again, plain milk or milk alternatives like unsweetened almond milk are healthier daily choices. But an occasional small-sized serving of chocolate milk can provide variety for adults without going overboard on sugar.

Tips for Drinking Nesquik and Milk in Moderation

Here are some tips to keep chocolate milk consumption in check:

– Treat it as an occasional dessert or snack – not an everyday beverage.

– Dilute chocolate milk with plain milk or water to reduce the sugar content.

– Avoid buying the large family-size containers. Opt for single serving packets or cartons.

– Be mindful of portion sizes. Measure out appropriate serving sizes instead of free pouring.

– Limit other sugary foods and beverages on days you consume chocolate milk to avoid sugar overload.

– Balance out chocolate milk with more healthy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc.

– Read labels and select low-sugar varieties or brands that use less processed sweeteners.

– Don’t give chocolate milk to toddlers under 2 years old due to sugar concerns. Stick with plain whole milk.

– Promote water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea as the primary beverages.

With smart guidelines and moderation, enjoying the occasional chocolate milk can work within a healthy lifestyle. But it shouldn’t be a daily habit due to the high amounts of added sugar.


Is Nesquik chocolate milk healthy? In summary:

– Nesquik delivers significant amounts of added sugar – up to 28g per serving. This exceeds daily recommendations on added sugar intake.

– The sugar spikes from Nesquik chocolate milk may increase risk factors for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

– However, the protein, calcium, fluids, and nutrients in milk still provide some benefits, especially for children. Occasional, small servings can be part of a healthy diet.

– There are healthier ways to make chocolate milk at home using less processed ingredients like cacao powder and maple syrup.

– Children and adults should limit portions and consume chocolate milk sparingly as an occasional treat, not an everyday beverage.

– Plain milk or unsweetened milk alternatives like almond milk are healthier options on a daily basis.

Overall, Nesquik chocolate milk is highly processed and too high in added sugar to be considered a healthy choice for daily consumption. But consumed occasionally and in moderation, it can provide variety and enjoyment as part of an otherwise balanced diet. Moderating portions and making homemade variations are ways to better control the sugar content.

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