Moms want to give their children the best start to a healthy life with nutrient-rich, quality foods. For years, pediatricians have been recommending milk for children since milk is rich in the nutrients a growing body needs. The majority of children in the U.S. do not drink enough milk. This means these children are missing out on many key nutrients found in milk needed for brain, muscle and bone development.

Milk has powerful nutrients for a strong body

We all know milk contains calcium and vitamin D, all which play a role in the development of strong bones. Milk is the number one food source for calcium and vitamin D in children’s diets. While genetics does play a substantial role in adult bone mass, lifestyle choice such as diet and amount of physical activity can amount to 20 to 40 percent of complete bone mass. Even though early childhood is a crucial time for milk consumption, adolescents still require milk since this is a time in their lives when rapid bone mineral formation is occurring.

In addition to calcium, milk also contains protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and potassium, all important nutrients for growing bodies. Milk is very easy to incorporate at meals, simply add an 8-ounce serving.

When compared to other milks such as plant-based milks like almond, soy or rice milk, dairy milk as more bang for the buck. These “milks” are often fortified with vitamins A and D just like dairy milk, they contain less fat and protein, both nutrients children need. These “milks” also contain added sugar where white milk does not, just the lactose naturally found in milk. Plant-based milks are normally very processed, whereas milk is only pasteurized and homogenized with just three ingredients: milk, vitamin A (in 2%, 1% and skim milks) and vitamin D.

What kind and how much milk should your kid be drinking?

Whole milk can be added to children’s diets after one year of age. Up until that point the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants stay on breast milk or formula. Whole milk is best for this age because of fat content that helps brain and nerve growth. Around two years of age, toddler’s can be switched over to reduced-fat or low-fat milk. Work with your pediatrician to know what’s best for your child. A general serving recommendation for milk based on age group is as follows:

  •    2-8 years old: 2 cups of milk each day
  •    9-18 years old: 3 cups of milk each day

Milk has played a big role in keeping children healthy and growing for many years. Get your children off to a great start with milk.

For more information on nutrients in milk, visit MilkLife. Do you have future blog post ideas? Please send to mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

Note: This blog post is not intended for those who are lactose-intolerant or have a milk allergy. We do not recommend consuming milk if you have these conditions.