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Skim Milk , Low Fat or Whole Milk For Your Toddler?
Your baby is now one year old! Congratulations on this big event for both you and them! Your baby can now switch over from drinking formula to cow’s milk. Or have breast milk feedings supplemented with cow’s milk in a cup. What type of milk to choose? In general, medical advice is to offer whole milk at age one, preferably in a child’s cup. But for some parents, worried that their toddler could develop weight problems, skim milk is on the menu. Is this a healthy choice for your growing toddler?
Offer Whole Milk to Your Toddler and Low Fat Milk to Your Child Over the Age of Two
Parents are increasingly confronted with the rising epidemic of child obesity rates. Of course, our reaction as caregivers should be using lifestyle preventive actions for our children to help them grow well, physically and mentally. Who doesn’t want their children to be lean and healthy? However, giving skim milk to your toddler to keep them “skinny” is not a healthy option for this age group. I have met mothers, themselves concerned with their own body shape and weight who found it normal to start their one year olds on skim milk. They didn’t want to see their kids getting big, especially their daughters. Based on your pediatrician’s advice, if your toddler has a balanced diet you could offer low-fat milk. But the basic advice is to generally to stick to whole milk for your one to two-year old child. Why is this important?
WHY IS WHOLE MILK THE MILK OF CHOICE FOR TODDLERS?
3 main reasons
1. Fat content: Whole milk has higher fat content than skim milk. Toddlers have smaller tummies. Adequate fat in their diet helps to keep their stomach full.
2. Taste: Whole milk tastes better and is better accepted by toddlers than skim milk.
3. Calorie content: Whole milk has more calories than skim milk. Toddlers need caloric-rich foods as many tend to be picky eaters. Toddlers also have increased growth requirements. Whole milk helps to meet these caloric needs.
A good dietary practice is no more than 16 ounces of milk (2 cups or 1 pint) in a day for your toddler. Also it is better to offer milk than a sweetened beverage.
If you have any questions or comments, please shout them out below. And tune back in, more to come on dietary practices for your children. See also the “parent” article that started this series on child nutrition, “Are You Obsessed That Your Child May Become Obese?“