Milk and healthy drinks

Does your child not like milk? Try these tips to help them consume the important nutrients milk provides.

There are many types of milk available to us. The milk most commonly available includes:

  • Fat-free (skim) milk: 80 calories and zero grams of fat per eight ounce serving
  • Low-fat ( one percent): 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per eight ounce serving
  • Reduced fat (two percent): 120 calories and five grams of fat per eight ounce serving
  • Whole milk: 150 calories and eight grams of fat per eight ounce serving

Many other types of milk are also available, including evaporated, evaporated fat-free, sweetened condensed, flavor, soy, rice, lactose-reduced or lactose-free. Milk is the most nutritious beverage choice for children. It is a natural, nutrient-packed food. Milk is a good source of nine essential nutrients that children and adults need for strong bones and good health. Those nutrients include: Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, riboflavin and niacin.

Milk should be served with all meals. Whole mild homogenized vitamin D fortified cow’s milk should be given for children between the ages 12 months to 2-years-old. Children in this age range need the fat to help with their rapid development during this time. Children age 2 and older should consume fat-free (skim) or low-fat (one percent) fluid milk.

Does your child not like milk? Serve milk ice-cold and try to offer a different flavor if they do not care for regular white milk. Always encourage your child to try the plain milk as it has fewer calories. Flavored milk still has all the same nutrients as white milk. Try serving milk in special glasses or with special straws. You could also make smoothies with milk and fruit. Try freezing the milk a little before you add it to the blender. Always be a role model and drink plenty of milk yourself.

It is recommended by pediatrician’s that children 1-year-old through age 6 be served no more than six ounces per day of 100 percent fruit juice. Remember that even 100 percent juice is high in sugar and provides less nutritional benefits than fresh fruit. We can replace sweetened drinks with water; which is less expensive and an easy way to keep children and ourselves, hydrated and healthy. Always serve drinking water throughout the day. Children older than 1-year-old should have water available and offered to them indoors and out, during meals and whenever they are thirsty. Instead of just using water from the tap, keep a cold pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Try adding ice to your child’s water and use a special glass and straw. You could also add fresh fruit and/or vegetables to flavor the water and then eat it after you finish the water. Michigan State University Extension encourages children helping by picking the fruit/vegetables at the store and cleaning them. Depending on their age, they can help cut also. Children will be more likely to drink the water that they were involved with preparing. Always be a role model and drink water yourself. It seems a lot more people are ordering water when they go out to eat; it is healthier for you and cuts the bill down significantly.