January 10, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Less than 50% of children ages 2 to 8, and only 25% of kids ages 9 to 19, drink the recommended amount of milk each day. What’s the problem with these statistics? In addition to providing children with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep kids healthy, milk is especially important to help build and maintain strong bones. It is a top source of high quality protein, with each cup delivering more protein than a large egg.
It is recommended for children ages 2 to 4 to consume 2 cups a day; 2½ cups for kids 4 to 8; and 3 cups for kids 9 and older. Make an effort to choose lower fat options such as 1% or non-fat milk. These deliver the same nutrition of 2% or whole milk, except with a fraction of the total and saturated fat, making them more heart healthy and also lower in calories.
- Whole Milk: 150 Calories, 8g Fat
- 2% Milk: 120 Calories, 4.5g Fat
- 1% Milk: 100 Calories, 2.5g Fat
- Skim Milk: 80 Calories, 0g Fat
If drinking milk is not a common practice in your household, or trying to get your child to do so is a struggle, try these quick tips:
- Shun the Soda
-Soda is a major competitor for kids’ attention. In addition to packing nearly 3 tablespoons of added sugar per can (and lots of empty calories), soda may disrupt behaviors. Poor mental health and substance use have been associated with consuming sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Turn It into a Treat
-If your child insists on soda and sweetened drinks, try stirring a teaspoon or two of chocolate or strawberry syrup into low-fat milk for a sweet treat with far less sugar, yet more protein and child-friendly nutrients.
- Serve It at Snack Time
-A glass of milk at snack time can make up for the nutrients kids may be missing at meals. Offer it with fresh fruit, whole grain crackers or a home-baked cookie or muffin.
- Show ’em How It’s Done
-Children learn by example, so the very best way to get your kids to drink milk is to be a good role model and drink yours too.