How much milk and juice do kids need each day? Most people give their kids way too much milk, partly because they don’t realize how much milk their kids actually get and partly out of fear.
Milk Requirements For Kids – Stop Giving Kids So Much Milk
In last weeks article on 10 things I do to save, I said one of the things I do to save is not let my kids drink as much milk as they wish. Instead, I follow the recommended daily requirements of milk for kids. In my article I said “I rarely buy juice and milk only goes on cereal. As a general rule, we don’t drink juice or milk on a regular basis. I might buy juice five or six times a year and our two year old will drink three or four half cup glasses of milk per week, but that’s it.”
Wow, from the responses we saw you would think my poor kids are dying from malnutrition! I got several responses like this:
“How do your kids get enough calcium with vitamin D, and also their vitamin C if they do not drink milk or juice every day? I’d be afraid of fragile bones and vitamin deficiencies. Pamela”
How Much Milk Do Kids Need?
There seemed to be a lot of confusion about milk requirements for kids and I don’t think everyone who told us we are depriving our kids of vital nutrients noticed the part where I said, “They get it on their cereal”.
My kids aren’t deprived of milk at all. By the time they have milk in their cereal (1-2 cups each morning with teenagers), cheese on their sandwiches or in macaroni and cheese (another 1-2 servings), milk in puddings and ice cream (1-2 servings) and yogurt (1 serving), cheese on their tacos (1 serving) and other milk products throughout the day, they are getting PLENTY of vitamin D, calcium and all the other nutrients they need. No, they don’t eat all of those things every day but they do get enough servings of milk in the combinations of dairy products I do give them every day.
Kids DO NOT NEED TO BE SUCKING ON MILK ALL DAY LONG! I know people who give their kids nothing but milk and juice in their sippy cups to drink on all day long. That is too many calories and once a child’s body has enough vitamins, the extra vitamins are simply eliminated unused.
All of my kids started drinking only water for meals at 6 months. (I said meals as in when eating solid food. They were still on formula and had bottle feedings regularly at that age, too.) Then when we weaned them off the bottle, they got only water in their cups for meals and now and then got to drink a half cup of milk or chocolate milk just for a snack. Don’t give kids milk to drink at meals. That just fills them up and then they aren’t hungry for the actual food. Most kids get plenty of milk from other dairy products throughout the day.
As for juice, it is SUGAR WATER, plain and simple. When the kids aren’t eating in season oranges, I give them a multi-vitamin to get the vitamin C they need, which is all that’s in most juices anyway! They also get lots of vitamins in their fruits and vegetables.
So far, my kids are not overweight and are in very good health.
The main point in my original story was that if you are in debt, you should not be spending thousands of dollars a year giving your kids a never ending supply of juice and milk out of fear. If you are in debt or having financial troubles then give them the amount they need and make them drink water the rest of the time!
How much milk do kids need? What are the milk requirements for kids?
- 2-8 years old drink 2 cups of milk each day
- 9-18 years old drink 3 cups of milk each day
This isn’t just milk. It includes all of the foods your kids eat that include milk.
So what does 1 cup of milk equal?
- 8 oz. yogurt
- 1 1/2 oz. hard cheese (1/3 cup shredded cheese)
- 2 oz. American cheese
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 cup of pudding
- 1 cup frozen yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups ice cream
The key to everything is MODERATION!
Pamela, I always recommend that people study basic nutrition because it can be an eye opener. We assume that vitamins are only in some of the most popular foods that we hear about all the time in the media and that we can only get vitamins by drinking those specific things. For example, Tawra’s kids eat cheese, they have milk on their cereal each morning, they eat pudding, broccoli, baked beans and almonds, all of which are all sources of calcium. Many other foods like potatoes have calcium in them, too. The list is too long for me to write, but information on these foods are readily available.
Vitamin C is in so many things that we don’t even think about. One baked potato can have almost 50% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Green peppers have almost as much vitamin C as orange juice. It’s in strawberries, peas, broccoli, peaches, tomatoes, oranges and many other fruits and vegetables, too.
Often people fill their kids up on liquids because it is easier to get them to drink juice than to eat a vegetable. Then, it makes the kids feel full, they don’t eat as much at their meal and 20 minutes after meals they are hungry and start eating more.
Milk and juice are full of calories. The kids are getting a lot of calories from these things but because they are still hungry they add more calories to try and fill themselves up.
To me, giving our children too many calories in the form of juice and milk all the time is as much a contributing factor to the obesity problem for kids as fast foods. We are so worried and obsessed about making sure our kids eat healthy but, at the same time, we are giving them way more than they really need.
As far as vitamin D goes, you can spend about 15 minutes in the sun and get all you need for most normal healthy people. Tawra’s kids walk to and from school each day and get that amount just doing that, not to mention all the time they spend outside playing. To me, the sun is a better source for them than filling them up with even more calories from a glass of milk. Also, so many foods like cereals are fortified with vitamin D so kids get more than plenty.
Truly study a book on basic food nutrients and most of you will be surprised.