Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting milk into your child's diet

Milk has to be one of the great wonder foods, and luckily it is something that most children will drink quite easily. It is a wonderful source of protein with approximately 8g per cup, as well as containing excellent levels of vitamin K, which can be hard to get into your child's diet if they do not like leafy green vegies.

Consumption of dairy has been associated with adult weight loss for quite a while, but recent studies have also associated low fat milk with the prevention of childhood obesity. Low fat milk is recommended for children over 2 years of age (infants under two need the fat in whole milk for brain development) as it minimises the consumption of saturated fat while still providing all the other vitamins and minerals.

Try these yummy suggestions for adding milk/dairy to your child's (and your!) diet:

  • make yummy smoothies - keep a supply of frozen banana chunks in your freezer, and blend with milk, yoghurt and other fresh soft fruits. the frozen banana really helps to make the smoothie thick and luscious and icy cold.

  • use hot milk instead of water to make some instant couscous - stir in some brown sugar, chopped dried fruit (my favourite is apricots) and top with a dollop of yoghurt for a fabulous hot breakfast in less than five minutes

  • add hot milk, raisins, cinnamon and crushed almonds to leftover cooked brown rice for a delicious and instant rice pudding

  • make oatmeal or other hot cereals with milk instead of yoghurt

  • make a luxurious (and healthy) hot chocolate by simmering milk and some chopped dark chocolate over low heat until the mixture is hot and velvety. For the kids (who may want it a bit sweeter) add in some honey.

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