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Which type of milk is right for your kids?

December 05, 2011

It sounds like a silly question. Is there a “right” and “wrong” type of milk? Not really. But, your child has different nutritional needs depending on their age. The type and amount of milk they consume plays a vital role in helping them meet those needs.

We asked people around Orlando what they knew about milk and how much kids should drink. Check out what they had to say in this video:


Why do we drink milk in the first place?

You’ve heard it many times before: milk helps build strong bones. It’s the calcium and vitamin D in fortified milk that help achieve that goal.

What we tend to forget is that childhood and adolescence are key windows of opportunity that allow us to ensure bone health for years to come.

It’s also easy to forget that as our children grow, their daily requirements of milk and milk products grow with them.

What type of milk should my child drink?

Children under the age of 1 year should drink breastmilk or formula; cow’s milk is not recommended.

Children from 1-2 years old should consume whole milk; their growing bodies need the added fat from whole milk for healthy growth.

Children older than 2 years should drink low-fat milk.

Older children as well as adolescents and adults should consume low-fat or fat-free milk. Low-fat and fat-free milk contain the same amount of calcium and nutrients without the added fat and calories.

Soy beverages that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D also provide the necessary nutrients for healthy bone growth. Often these products are not as affordable as cow’s milk, but offer a great alternative for those who have special dietary needs.

How much milk should my child drink?

Did you know that less than 1 in 10 girls between the ages of 9-13 get the calcium they need? About 1 in 4 boys in the same age group meet their daily requirements.

The table below outlines how much milk is recommended by age, and this is in addition to a diet supplemented with other calcium-rich foods as well.


Recommended milk intake

2-3 years

2 cups

4-8 years

2 1/2 cups

9-18 years and adults

3 cups


Other sources of calcium and vitamin D

Other calcium-rich foods include yogurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, soybeans, broccoli, spinach and almonds.

Encourage your kids to incorporate these foods into their diet along with the recommended amount of milk.