Milk is one of the most nutritious beverage choices kids can make, whether they are at home, at a restaurant or at school.
It’s a natural source of nine essential nutrients including calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin. As you may already know, calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, Vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium, protein helps build and repair muscles and potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure as well as the body’s fluid balance.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid for kids recommend three servings daily of low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products such as cheese or yogurt as part of a healthy diet for children ages six to 11.
One eight-ounce serving of milk gives kids as much calcium as two-and-one-fourth cups of broccoli, as much potassium as a small banana, as much magnesium as a cup of raw spinach, as much Vitamin A as two baby carrots, and as much phosphorous as one cup of kidney beans.
When it comes to milk’s nutrient package, all varieties of milk are equal. They will benefit from the same amount of calcium and eight other essential nutrients whether they drink fat-free, lot-fat, reduced-fat, or whole milk. The main difference between varieties is the calories and fat provided.
Here is a description of milk varieties:
•Whole milk contains 150 calories and eight grams of fat per serving (eight fluid ounces).
•Two percent reduced fat milk contains 120 calories and five grams of fat per serving.
•One percent low-fat Milk contains 100 calories and two-and-a-half grams of fat per serving.
•Fat-free milk, also called skim or non-fat milk contains 90 calories and zero grams of fat per serving.
•Evaporated milk is made by removing about 60 percent of the water from whole milk. The milk is then homogenized, fortified with Vitamin D, canned and heat sterilized.
•Evaporated Fat-Free Milk is a concentrated, fortified, fat-free milk that is canned and sterilized.
Below you will find a refreshing smoothie for you and your children to enjoy.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
One-and-a-half cups one-percent lowfat milk
One pint low fat vanilla yogurt
Two ripe bananas, peeled, sliced
One-and-a-fourth cups sliced strawberries
Two tablespoons honey
12-14 ice cubes
In blender jar, combine milk, yogurt, bananas, strawberries, and honey; add enough ice to measure six cups in blender. Process until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Garnish each serving with strawberry slice and fresh mint if desired. Makes five servings (eight ounces each).
Nutrition Facts per eight-ounce serving: Calories, 196; total fat, 2.38 grams; saturated fat, 1.37 grams; cholesterol, 7.73 miligrams; calcium 268 miligrams.