For Better Living
Everyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle. This is true for all children as well as adults. A healthy lifestyle means eating smart and moving more. One smart choice is lower fat milk. It has the same calcium, the same vitamin D, and the same protein as whole milk. But, it is lower in fat and calories.
Low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products are among the best sources calcium. Milk and dairy products also have other important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins A and D, potassium and magnesium. Milk provides calcium in a way that is easy for most people’s bodies to absorb. Each eight-ounce glass of fat-free, lowfat, or even chocolate milk has about 300 mg of calcium. Making milk the standard drink with meals throughout childhood and adolescence is a great way to help get enough calcium.
Calcium is needed by the body for healthy bones, teeth, and proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. The body cannot produce calcium; therefore, it must come from food. Calcium is most important during the childhood and teen years when it can have the most impact on growing bones. Even though calcium is very important, studies show that most children and teens are not getting enough of it in their diets. Getting too little calcium may lead to health problems later in life, such as osteoporosis and fragile bones.
Calcium-rich foods include:
- Dairy products—low-fat or non-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Dark green leafy vegetables—spinach, collards, turnip greens, and broccoli
- Calcium fortified foods—orange juice, cereal, bread, and soy products
- Canned fish with bones—salmon and sardines
Whole milk and reduced-fat (2%) milk are high in saturated fat. Low-fat (1%) and fat free or skim milk and dairy products have little or no fat. That means it’s easy for children and teens to get enough calcium without adding extra fat to their diets. Babies under one year old should drink only breast milk or iron-fortified formula. But for children over one, just two eight-ounce glasses of milk can go a long way toward giving them the calcium they need each day. Drinking more than two glasses a day can reduce children’s appetites for other healthy foods.
Which Milk Is Best for Your Child?
If it is time for your child to make the switch from breast milk or formula to milk, you may wonder which milk is the best choice. If you have a child less than two years of age, then whole milk is the best choice. Babies and toddlers need the fat from the whole milk to grow properly.
Starting at age two, children can drink low-fat milk. It is a good habit for the whole family to learn. Drinking low-fat milk is one way to get less fat, especially saturated fat. You may want to make the change from whole milk to low-fat milk slowly. Switch first from the whole milk to 2% milk. When your family gets used to the flavor, try lower fat milk, such as 1% or skim. Offer low-fat milk on cereals and in smoothies.
Your child will get the same bone-building calcium no matter what type of milk you choose. The difference in the various types of milk is in the amount of fat they contain. Check the labels on the back of the milk cartons to compare the nutrients they contain.
Source: N.C. Dept of Health and Human Services
Kentucky Cooperative Extension
1 cup skim milk
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 small banana, sliced and frozen
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup chopped mango, frozen
¼ cup frozen unsweetened peach slices
In a blender, combine all ingredients. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses. Serve immediately.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
½ cup chopped sweet onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cups skim milk
1 ¼ cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
In a large nonstick saucepan coated with nonstick spray, sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add flour. Stir to coat evenly and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1 – 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
Add the broccoli, tarragon, thyme and pepper. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add milk. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or longer. Remove from hear. Cool to room temperature.
In small batches, transfer soup to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Return soup to pan and heat through. Add 1 cup cheese. Stir just until melted. Serve immediately, garnishing with remaining cheese. Yield: 4 servings.