Which Milk is Good for your Kids?
As a mother, you must know why drinking milk is essential for children and their nutrition. Milk makeup is an integral part of kids’ diet and nutritional needs as it provides them all the vital nutrients they need at different stages of their growth. Thus determining the best milk for your infant, toddler, or teen kid can be a heavy task with the different types of milk available in the market. Well, if it’s your problem, we consider it ours too.
This article will cover all your doubts regarding the range of milk available in the market and suitable for kids drinking milk.
Different types of milk
Determining the best milk for children’s growth would need every mother skimming through the labels and internet sites to understand the individual nutritional needs fulfilled by kids’ milk. With new lifestyles and faiths arising in the society, milk isn’t just limited to Cow or Buffalo milk, but various vegan options are available in the market. The more extensive array of choices are usually accompanied by complexity too. Below mentioned are the significant types of milk that you must know about:
● Dairy milk
Most people of our generations or previous generations grew up drinking cow or buffalo milk. This milk falls under the Dairy Milk category and is obtained from dairy animals like cows, buffaloes, or goats.
There might be a whole range of milk processed from the natural milk obtained from the dairy. A few of them are:
1. Raw Milk: Commonly identified as Cow’s milk. Source of natural nutrients but can be unhealthy as not homogenized or pasteurized.
2. Whole Milk: Contains 3.25%-3.5% milk fat. The closest and purest alternative to Cow’s milk. Processed and decontaminated.
3. Reduced-Fat Milk: Contains only 2% milk fat. It tastes similar to whole milk and similarly creamy, with similar nutrients, just less fat than whole milk.
4. Skimmed Milk: The no-fat milk. Contains all the essential nutrients of whole milk. It has a thin consistency and a watery taste that can be refined.
5. Low-Fat Milk: Contains only 1% milk fat. Less saturated fats, combined with skimmed milk to enhance protein and calcium content with a creamy texture.
6. Toned Milk: Combination of whole cream buffalo milk, water, and skimmed milk. Sans saturated fats of buffalo milk with the same nutrients.
7. Double-Toned Milk: Combination of Cow and buffalo milk and skimmed milk. Contains 1.5% milk fat and 6% non-fat solids. Intact nutritions.
8. Full-cream Milk: Contains 3.5% milk fat and cream. Obtained from the combination of Cow and buffalo milk. Very nutritious and thick.
9. Lactose-free Milk: Standard milk with added lactase. The Lactose is broken down, and milk is free for consumption by lactose-intolerant individuals. The taste and nutritional value remain intact.
10. A1 Milk- The most commonly marketed milk. Obtained from foreign cow breeds like Jersey, Holstein, etc. Considered less healthy and more prone to causing allergies.
11. A2 Milk- It’s uncommon and obtained from indigenous breeds like Sahiwal, Gir, etc. It’s considered more healthy and less allergen-rich.
12. Flavoured Milk: Comes with added flavors, sugar, etc., making milk tastier thus more likely to be consumed. It has the same nutritional value but has additives and unwelcome calories.
There are several more types based on the level of processing, such as Ultra-Filtered Milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sweetened condensed milk, buttermilk, etc. Among all these, Cow’s milk is the best milk for kids. Cow’s milk or whole milk is recommended for kids because it’s full of nutrients like Calcium, Phosphorus, protein, and other crucial nutrients that fulfill energy and growth needs. In addition, the fortified ones come with added Vitamin A and D.
● Plant-based milk
People are increasingly switching to more sustainable Vegan lifestyles. So they have opted for several alternatives of milk obtained from plant products, thus called Plant-based milk. These include:
1. Soy Milk: Soaked soybeans are crushed with water to obtain Soy milk. Rich in Soy proteins and calcium along with other nutrients in considerable proportions.
2. Almond Milk: A sweet, nutty, and creamy milk obtained by grinding the pre-toasted almonds with water. It’s low-calorie and heavy in micronutrients and all the nutrients of almonds.
3. Rice Milk: Naturally sweet milk obtained by grinding together boiled brown rice, brown sugar, and brown rice starch. Low on protein and calcium, the milk is most allergen-free and rich in carbohydrates and sugar.
4. Coconut Milk: Prepared by boiling the white flesh of matured coconut in coconut water and then straining it through cheesecloth to give way to thick consistency milk rich in micronutrients.
5. Hemp Milk: Obtained by blending thoroughly soaked and crushed hemp seeds. It has a creamy, rich, and nutty flavor and has excellent health benefits.
6. Oat Milk: Obtained by mixing whole or processed oats with water. It’s thin but a great source of fiber and bet-glucans.
Usually, these kinds of milk have more complex proteins, or sometimes they don’t contain all the nutrients required. Thus Plant-based milk is less recommended for those below toddler age. However, almond or Soy milk is suitable for kids in cases of lactose intolerance or allergies. Children like flavored milk aren’t very advisable for consumption.
Recommended milk for kids
Children of different ages require nutrition according to their growth needs. Most of the Cow’s milk available in markets is already fortified with added vitamins and minerals according to the pediatrics standards of nutrition, thus making them healthy.
Following are the suggestions for the best milk for consumption by kids at different stages.
● The best milk for infants
Taking your newborn in your hands might make any mother feel overwhelmed, and ensuring its complete nutrition would require you to breastfeed them till the first six months.
▪ The best milk for kids below the age of 1 year is the mother’s breastmilk.
▪ Formula milk is also good for your infant and can be administered to a 6-12 month baby along with breastmilk. It’s the only alternative for breastmilk and provides similar nutrition to the kids if they aren’t consuming your milk.
▪ Never administer Cow’s milk or any plant-based milk to infants.
● The best milk for toddlers
Once the baby completes one year, the kids need different nutrition, having good protein and healthy fat in milk, ideal for brain development till the age of 2. So you can:
▪ Can stop giving them breastmilk or formula milk.
▪ Provide them whole-fat Cow’s milk, which is good milk for toddlers.
▪ If your family has a record of past cases of obesity, heart diseases, or if your child is getting healthy fats from other foods, you can stick to skimmed or low-fat Cow’s milk.
● The best milk for young kids
Now that your baby is over two years in age, he must be eating many outside foods. Thus they have different milk needs.
▪ Recommended milk for 3-year-old kids or more is low-fat cow milk.
▪ This is because the kids are already getting their required fats from a balanced diet.
▪ As for milk for teenagers and elder kids, one can also opt for no-fat or double-toned milk, which has non-existent fat content yet rich in nutrients.
Dairy milk is always suitable for consumption because it is rich in calcium and protein than plant-based milk. Despite this fact, if you want to provide Plant-based milk to your kid because of belief or dietary constraints, Soy milk is the best vegan alternative milk for your child. Rest assured, you can always refer to your pediatric for more tailored suggestions according to your choices. Again, though, it’s always advisable NOT to administer plant-based milk to kids below the age of 5 years.
How much milk needs to be consumed?
Only consuming milk isn’t good enough, but consuming it in the right proportion is also crucial. Below are the recommended serving for milk defined above according to age groups:
● 0-12 months (Infants) – breastmilk as demanded (400-600ml)
or infant formula- 150ml/kg
● 12-24 months (Toddlers)- 300-400 ml (2-3 cups) or three dairy food servings
● 3-5 years (Young kids)- 300-400 ml (2 cups)
● 6-12 years (elder kids)- 350-500 ml (2 and a half cups)
● 13-18 years (Teenagers)- 400-600 ml (3 cups)
What to do in case of milk allergy?
If your child is Lactose intolerant or is allergic to dairy and milk products, a pediatrician would be able to guide you well accordingly. Kids with lactose intolerance can consume limited amounts of dairy products and lactose-free milk. Yogurt, Aged cheese, and Cow’s milk are free from Lactose and edible by lactose-intolerant children.
After reading, you must have known everything about the best milk for kids of different age groups. Consuming good quality fortified milk can work wonders for the growth and all-round development of your little one. No mother would compromise on the primary diet of their child, and as an aware mother, you are on the right path of acing this new level of motherhood.