On Christmas Eve, millions of families across the world will take part in a time-honored tradition by leaving a glass of milk and plate of cookies out for Santa Claus. It might be skim, 2% or whole milk, depending on your preference. 

Unfortunately, U.S. schoolchildren won’t have the same choice after the Senate last week killed a bill that would have enhanced school meal nutrition by providing a wider variety of milk options, including whole and 2% milk. Those options were removed in 2012 as part of an effort to reduce fat intake in school lunches.

The U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the week passed the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 1147) with strong bipartisan support in a 330-99 vote. The American Farm Bureau and dairy groups applauded the move, noting that milk is critical for children and adolescents who may not obtain necessary levels of vitamin D, potassium, protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and other key nutrients. Approximately 90% of the U.S. population is not consuming enough dairy to support recommended nutrient intake, according to the USDA. 

The guidelines prohibiting 2% and whole milk in school lunches contradict modern nutritional science, AFBF noted in a letter to Congress. “Numerous recent studies have debunked the previously asserted correlation be­tween obesity and milk fat content,” the letter said. 

It’s disappointing that the Sen­ate spoiled the opportunity to return more milk choices to school lunches, but each of us can do our part to increase milk demand in our own homes. This Christmas, I hope you’ll join me by raising a glass of milk to toast our hardworking dairy farmers.