Milk is an excellent source of protein and calories as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and Vitamin D – two crucial ingredients in supporting children’s bone health.
Yet many children consume too much milk and fail to receive healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Flavored milk (even reduced-fat varieties for children over 2 years of age) can also provide additional sugar intake.
Milk provides essential protein, essential for growth and tissue repair, calcium, and vitamin D – making it an excellent addition to a child’s diet when other healthy options may not be readily available. Incorporating dairy foods as part of their daily regimen also contributes to energy balance when necessary.
Whole milk is ideal for toddlers because it provides them with all of the essential vitamins and nutrients for growth and development, including all necessary calories. Children over two may drink lower fat milks such as skimmed and 1% options (skimmed/1% aren’t suitable) or non-dairy alternatives when fortified with calcium/vitamin D/A content.
Most young children can tolerate lactose, the natural sugar found in milk, without difficulty. Some may lack lactase enzyme to break it down after three or due to viral illness; they can still enjoy dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt which provide all of the same nutritional value without adding an excess sugar intake.
Milk consumption appears to promote growth among children living in developing nations, likely as a result of its protein and calcium content; the precise cause remains unknown.
Some individuals claim that drinking milk leads to the production of excess mucous; however, there is no concrete proof for this claim. Instead, evidence points towards other factors, including environmental pollutants and stress as the possible triggers.
Many people don’t get enough dairy in their diets. Milk or yoghurt makes an ideal addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as warming and sipping at bedtime to relax and help children sleep peacefully.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium, an essential mineral which can strengthen bones and teeth. Calcium also aids the body’s absorption of other essential nutrients like protein, potassium and vitamin D, according to John Hopkins Children’s Hospital. While dairy may not be tolerated or enjoyed by some children, they still reap its many health benefits by consuming calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese or fortified plant-based milks such as soya, almond, coconut or oat milks (but it’s wise to check labels as nutrients may vary between brands).
National nutrition surveys reveal that many children and teens do not consume enough calcium, leading them to risk bone deformities or osteoporosis later. According to Boys Town Pediatrics’ recommendations for children ages one through three consuming 500 milligrams daily and for kids four through eight aged four through eight needing 800 milligrams daily; two cups of whole milk contains around 300 milligrams of calcium so this will help meet your calcium needs!
If your child doesn’t enjoy the taste of milk, try mixing it with water or other liquids to create ice pops, using it as the basis for soups, or including it in recipes for baked goods. For children who are lactose intolerant, reduced fat milk or lactose-free milk has been specially formulated to contain less of lactose; alternatively you could provide calcium-fortified plant-based milks and yogurts, cooked dark leafy vegetables, dried beans or fortified cereals to support digestion.
Many children lack sufficient vitamin D, an essential nutrient needed for calcium and phosphate regulation. Without enough Vitamin D, children are at a greater risk for osteoporosis, bone fractures, low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) levels as well as softened bones (rickets).
Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the American diet, providing around 100 international units per eight-ounce cup. Children also require adequate amounts of Vitamin D from other food sources like fatty fish, cod liver oil and egg yolk, many of which are fortified with this essential nutrient.
Vitamin D can be obtained through sunlight exposure, but care must be taken to avoid overexposure that could lead to skin cancer. Sunscreen should always be worn when children are out in the sun for extended periods.
Recent research revealed that two cups of cow’s milk daily and vitamin D supplementation were better predictors of vitamin D stores than skin color or measures of time outdoors in infants, but there was insufficient evidence supporting its effect on other health outcomes other than bone health. A committee created to establish recommended vitamin D dietary intake levels found this inadequate.
Older children needing vitamin D may benefit from consuming plain whole milk, yogurt, some cereals and 100% juices as dietary sources of this nutrient. Foods fortified with vitamin D will often have an alert icon on their labels to indicate this fact; always read labels to ascertain their nutrient content in terms of milligrams or international units; foods providing 20% or more of the Daily Value are considered high sources. Although average consumption levels will provide some guidance as to where you may find vitamin D intakes levels may differ according to person lifestyle factors.
Milk is an excellent source of preformed vitamin A, an essential nutrient needed to support normal vision and immune function as well as cell growth and the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin A is fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that its storage in the body allows future use – with liver, fish, dairy products (including fortified milk ) among the main sources for Vitamin A intake.
Children should consume whole cow’s milk unless there are health considerations requiring lower fat options or they have an intolerance for lactose. Plant-based milks may be suitable for older children or adults who have an intolerance for lactose, and could form part of a nutritious diet as they contain calcium, vitamin D and protein sources.
As toddlers get older, it is recommended that they consume two cups of dairy each day, depending on their age. You can assist your toddler in this goal by including cheese sticks or low-fat yogurt in their packed lunch, or consider plant-based milks that have added vitamins such as calcium, Vitamin D and iron fortification.
Selecting the ideal type of milk for your child is crucial because they all have unique nutritional requirements. Too much milk can leave less room in their tummies for essential foods that provide essential nutrients, like iron from other sources. If you feel your child may be lacking essential nutrients, contact their GP or dietitian immediately so they can discuss ways to meet those nutritional requirements effectively.
The Vitamin B family of vitamins are vital to healthy development. They promote metabolism and help the body produce red blood cells and DNA, as well as help convert carbohydrates to energy; vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) help convert carbohydrates to energy, while B5 assists with normal brain function and adrenal hormone production. Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin), however, plays a crucial role in cell formation as well as healthy nervous systems and may reduce symptoms of depression according to Mount Sinai hospital’s research. These vitamins can be found primarily in animal foods like dairy, meats, fish or eggs; although similar compounds can also be found in many plant foods including vegetables whole grains and nuts.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium for children’s bone health, helping prevent diseases like rickets and osteoporosis in adulthood. Furthermore, it provides Vitamin D which assists the body’s absorption of calcium.
Though getting your kids to drink milk may seem challenging, it is an effective way to provide essential nutrition. It is best to offer plain pasteurized cow’s milk that does not contain added sugars; plant-based alternatives may also work; just make sure they contain essential vitamins for children’s development.