Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Do You Know About Milk? (Plus a Giveaway!)

A huge thank you to The National Milk Life Campaign’s Back-to-School program for sponsoring this post.

We all know that milk is a healthy, important aspect in every child's diet...but do you know exactly what role it plays in your child's nutrition?  A few days ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with registered dietitian, Holley Grainger, on how important milk is in our children's diets and what we can do to ensure they are receiving the recommended daily servings they need, especially during a busy back-to-school season.

I am so excited to partner with Milk Life today to share with you a few things I learned from our discussion!

1.  Decades of research supports the benefits of milk and its nutrients, especially for growing kids.  Not only does milk provide several essential nutrients for children, but it's a great source of protein.  It's crucial that kids get enough protein in each meal.  We include a serving of milk at each meal, especially breakfast, to ensure sustained energy and an easy way to help Emmie feel full and satisfied for longer.  And dollar for dollar, milk is one of the best sources of protein out there (an 8oz serving, which costs about a quarter, provides 8 grams of protein).

2.  Milk is the top food source for three of the four most likely nutrients to be missing from kids' diets: calcium, Vitamin D, and potassium.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, milk is a better way for kids to get bone-building nutrients than supplements, vegetables, or alternative milk-like beverages.  And an added bonus: milk offers 9 total essential nutrients in each serving.

3.  Over the last 30 years, kids are drinking many more sweetened beverages and much less milk.  As parents out there probably know, there are so, so many beverage options out there for kids today. It can be incredibly confusing to know what's best for our children.   While, on average, younger children in our country are still getting needed servings of milk daily, older children (starting around age 9) are not.  This problem tends to be worse in adolescent girls and women, a point that hit home for me as the mother of a daughter.  We are already doing our part to minimize Emmie's sugary drink intake by treating those beverages as a treat. While she does occasionally receive them, we use milk as our main beverage at each meal, teaching her that healthy options are her go-to on a daily basis.

4.  Dairy milk is hard to replace.  There's a huge push lately for dairy milk alternatives, like almond milk, but many times those beverages don't provide the nutritional punch of good old fashioned dairy milk.  These milks have no naturally-occuring nutrients.  In addition, plant-based milks are typically loaded with added ingredients, including sugar.  And dairy milk provides 8 times more protein than an equivalent serving of almond milk.  For me, these facts make dairy milk a no-brainer!

We've always been big milk drinkers around here, but hearing these important points just reinforced our decision to give Emmie a milk-rich diet.  It feels good to know you're doing something so beneficial for your child's diet...and it doesn't hurt that it's an easy and cost-effective way to give your kids needed proteins and nutrients!

You can find more information about the importance of milk (and even pick up a few delicious recipes) at the Milk Life website.  Also, check out Milk on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!

Now, two of you have the chance to win a free month's supply of milk (valued at $18)!  To enter, in the comments section of this post, answer the following question:

"Which one of the four tips above surprised you the most?"

*Please leave your email address on each entry.*