Make It Milk Tonight

by Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

It’s dinner time at our house and everyone has a glass of milk sitting at their plate. As I pour the last glass I wonder, as a mom and registered dietitian, how many other households sitting down to dinner have a glass of milk on their table?

With a growing number of beverage choices, a recent survey of 1,505 moms of kids between the ages of 1-18 found that only 29% reported serving milk to their children at dinner (Harris Interactive Survey January 2010).

What nutrients are kids missing by not including a glass of milk at meal time?
Milk is the number one diet source of calcium in the diet, critical ingredient for growing bones, but more than that milk provides 9 essential nutrients. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the nutrients of public health concern (the ones we don’t get enough of) are potassium, calcium, vitamin D and dietary fiber. So not only is milk the #1 diet source for calcium, it is also an excellent source of potassium and vitamin D.

Unfortunately more than half of boys’ age 9-18 years and over 90% of girls in the same age group do not get the recommended amounts of milk and dairy foods, and this gap begins as early as age 4 (2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES]).

How many servings of milk and dairy foods do kids need per day?
Between 3-4 servings (1 serving = 8 ounces of milk, 6-8 ounces of yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of cheese). The current Dietary Guidelines further recommend that you choose fat-free or lowfat milk and dairy foods.

Beverages make significant calorie and nutrient contributions to children’s diets. So when you set the table for dinner tonight, think about the beverage you serve your family and the nutrition tone you’re setting and reach for that gallon of milk!

Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

Karen is a registered dietitian and is the Nutrition Affairs Director for the American Dairy Association Mideast. A scientist at heart, she seeks out quality nutrition research to share with others in a profession she is passionate about. Karen is a mother of three and enjoys cooking, gardening, running and traveling.

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