Yesterday was a great reminder to share the love. My kids thought it was Christmas all over again since they woke up at 5:30 a.m. excited to start the day! A little too early for me, especially with it being a school day and my husband out of town because of work. But they weren’t necessarily excited for what I was going to give them, but more excited about the Valentine’s party they were going to have at school which included exchanging all those valentines. To celebrate the morning, we shared a heart-shaped breakfast together as a simple reminder to share what we love about each other instead of the negative. The meal was simple, yet festive. Tasty, yet healthy.
But what isn’t showing in this picture is the milk jug. I didn’t even think to take a picture of it at the time, because it is such a routine in our breakfast.
Milk is a part of our morning every day. In fact, my kids would rather have milk than juice any day of the week. Kicking off the day with milk provides bone-building calcium and protein and kids need calcium every day to build strong bones and teeth. When I am teaching kids cooking/nutrition classes, we always talk about how teeth are the only bones in your body you can actually see – not covered by skin.
How much calcium do kids need every day?
· Kid’s age 1 to 3 years old need 500 milligrams of calcium per day.
· Kid’s age 4 to 8 years old need 800 milligrams of calcium per day.
· Kid’s age 9 to 18 years old need 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day.
How much is 300 milligrams of calcium?
· 1 (8 ounce) glass of milk
· 6 to 8 ounces of yogurt
· 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese
Here are some ways to make sure your kids are getting enough calcium each day:
· Start the day with a breakfast containing milk.
· Grab milk at lunch instead of a soft drink – if they are eating school lunch, milk is ALWAYS an option. Don’t fret if it’s chocolate.
· Eat cheese on a sandwich.
· Ask for chocolate milk at a snack.
· Drink milk at your evening meal.
If you are doing at least three of these, you and your family are doing a great job at getting your kids enough calcium.
If you are only doing one or two of these options, keep working on making sure your kids get enough calcium each day.
Some quick tips:
· Blend up a smoothie containing milk and yogurt.
· For dessert, try pudding made with milk.
· Replace the water in baked goods with milk.
· Order milk at the drive-thru instead of a soft drink.
· The only difference in whole, 2%, 1% and fat-free milk products is the amount of fat and saturated fat. All of these choices have equal amounts of calcium and vitamin D. In fact, milk is the number one food source of calcium. For the most heart-healthy choice after age 2, purchase 1% of fat-free milk varieties. From 12 months to 2 years of age, it’s best to choose whole milk for the extra fat for brain development.
· And above all – set a good example. If your kids see you drinking milk, they will most likely reach for a glass too.
For great recipes using milk, go to http://www.dairymakessense.com and for fun activity sheets for your kids, go to www.midwestdairy.com .