Milk is one of the healthiest drinks we can give or toddlers. Making sure our children have healthy drinks is not always at the top of most parents lists. Healthy drinks usually come with the stigma of bad tasting. If we teach our children from the start to drink healthy it will be easier to keep them on that path. Parents should seek to model in themselves what they want their children to do and this includes what they drink.
Healthy drinks for your 1-4 year old is not as complicated as one might think. The most important food for a child the first year is milk. Breast milk is the best for a child under 12 months. Studies have shown that breast milk contains certain antibodies that help build a child’s immune system. Regular dairy milk doesn’t contain these antibodies.
Thus, children under 12 months should have either breast milk, formula or a mix of the two. Once your child is over the age of 1 year you can give them the regular variety. This can include soy, almond, rice, cashew or dairy milk. As they get past the age of 2 years you can introduce reduced fat milk into the equation.
The Nutritional Value Of Milk
The reason why this beverage is one of the better healthy drinks for a child is that it has a lot of nutrients. It has calcium which is important for bone and teeth development. It has protein which is good for cell and muscle development. Dairy free milk also contains good fat, that help keep arteries clean and healthy.
Milk also contains certain vitamins that are essential for child development. Vitamin A is found in milk which helps in eye development. At a young age Calcium is more readily absorbed by a young child’s body from milk than other sources. Milk also contains vitamin B which helps regulate the nervous system and convert food into energy.
How Much Milk Should A Toddler Have?
A toddler should have minimum 1 & 1/2 servings of milk products a day for good health. This includes 1 cup or 250ml of fortified calcium soy, almond, or cashew or dairy milk. Then 200g of custard or yogurt, and 2 slices or 40g of soy or dairy cheese. You should not give your toddler more than 500ml of milk per day.
Doing this could cause them to be too full to eat solid food. As they grow children need to eat and digest more and more solid foods. Toddlers under 2 years of age should get the fattier milks to help in growth and energy build up. Milk should be a healthy part of your child’s diet.
Milk is a well rounded beverage. It is one that if given correctly can help you child develop into a strong and healthy individual. Keep milk handy at all times around the house.