Why Kids Need Protein and How Milk Can Help
(Family Features) Making sure kids eat nutritious meals is often a parent’s top priority. Moms know good nutrition is essential for their child’s health, since developing and maintaining healthy habits as a kid can lead to lifelong benefits. Drinking milk is a great source of protein.
That’s why it’s important to make sure kids get enough protein. Not only that, but it’s also important kids choose good-for-you protein foods, like milk. In addition to being a good source of high-quality protein, milk offers eight other essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which are three of the four nutrients most Americans – including children – are most likely missing in their diets.
It’s important for kids to get protein at every meal, especially breakfast. Getting enough protein in the morning can help kids feel fuller, longer, so they can start the day off right. Beyond helping the body build and repair lean muscle, protein also impacts many different functions in growing bodies. For example, protein works together with key bone-building nutrients like calcium and vitamin D to help build healthy bones.
Each 8-ounce serving of milk provides 8 grams of high-quality, natural protein. Milk is a complete protein, which means that every glass contains a full mix of the essential amino acids our bodies need.
Without milk in their diets, it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow up strong. For kids 9 and older, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of lowfat or fat free milk and milk products each day and two and a half servings daily for children ages 4 to 8.
You can feel good serving milk to your family since it’s one of the original farm-to-table foods and a wholesome, naturally nutrient-rich choice. Almost all U.S. households have dairy milk in their refrigerators and kids are some of the biggest fans. According to a survey, nine out of 10 kids age 8-12 said they love to drink milk for reasons such as because it’s good for them, it will help them grow and they love the taste.¹ With nine essential nutrients in each 8-ounce glass, milk is a delicious and simple way to give kids a natural source of high-quality protein plus other nutrients they need.
Try pairing this kid-friendly recipe for breakfast sushi with a glass of milk for a fun way to start their day with milk and protein. For more kid-friendly, nutritious recipe ideas, visit milklife.com.
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
- Spread peanut butter over the outside of the banana and then roll in cereal until coated. Cut into thick slices and serve with a glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 15 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 16 g protein; 51 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 290 mg sodium; 305 mg calcium (30% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on including an 8-ounce glass of fat free milk.
¹The National got milk? Milk Mustache campaign June Dairy Month survey was conducted between April 26 and May 6, 2013, among 519 parents of 8-12 year olds and 519 8-12 year olds.