By Amanda Hill
We’ve all seen the commercials—the coolest actresses, athletes and entertainers proudly sport their milk mustaches. We’ve been told it does a body good. Got milk? You bet!
Growing up, milk was a part of my everyday diet. I’d start the day with a bowl of cereal and skim milk. I’d have a few cheese sticks in my lunchbox. I always had a glass of milk with my dinner. I couldn’t leave the table until my glass was empty.
But according to a Harvard professor and pediatrician, the recommended three servings of milk a day is bad for our kids… Dr. David Ludwig says that kids are getting extra calories and sugar from an excess of flavored milk and sweetened yogurt. Rather than drink milk, Ludwig instead suggests our kids should eat kale, beans, nuts and seeds.
Anyone who has kids (or has been a kid) knows that a plateful of kale will fly like a ton of bricks. Milk is a nutritionally complete food, providing protein and vitamin D, in addition to calcium. And, you’d have to eat three cups of kale to get the same amount of calcium as one cup of 2 percent milk. Good luck with that.
Chocolate milk was a special treat in our house when I was a kid. When we did get to have it, Mom would cut it with skim milk, reducing the sugar and calories but still giving the sweet, chocolaty taste. It wasn’t until college that I knew people drank it straight. (It was delicious, I’ll admit!)
Dr. Ludwig says the recommendation for milk should be changed to “zero to three” servings a day, instead of the USDA’s suggested three. I think that encourages parents and kids to cut milk from their diets altogether, which is really a shame.
Rather than giving milk a bad rap, let’s take a rational approach and incorporate reduced fat, plain milk and dairy products into our daily routine. It’ll do our bodies good.
Nice article. Admittedly, I also recall those special treats of chocolate milk “NesQuik was my preferred chocolate additive” and I was lucky enough to not have it cut by reduced or skim milk. To pay for the extra goodness of whole milk and Nesquik my mom insisted that I go outside and do things like chores, play sports, or simply get outside of the house and out of her hair. Little did I know she was simply fueling my body with extra nutrients so that I wouldn’t run out of gas before my friends or before the chores were finished. #Momhasaplan
Guess what… I had a tall glass of that concoction last night and a bottle of the reduced fat kind at work this morning.
Milk. It does a body good.
Stay thirsty my friends.
Thanks, Tracy. I’ll admit, the half skim, half chocolate milk was not taken favorably once I had the good stuff in college. But, I know my mom was teaching us that a treat is ok every once and a while, but moderation is still important. Come to think of it, my mom sounds a lot like yours – sending us outside any chance she could. Maybe they conspired together? 🙂
I like Kale, really I do. In salads. Had some last night with baby spinach. I also love fruits and nuts. Sunflower seeds too. I coached youth baseball for long enough to have a seed habit. I never have understood why these things have to be all or nothing. Too much chocolate? Strawberry syrup…stop drinking all milk! How about some 1 or 2% plain old low fat milk? I’ve read that has less sugar than skim. But, don’t give up the nutritional value of dairy products. And while you’re at it, turn off the XBox and send them outside to play.
Gene, I totally agree. How in the world does a pediatrician jump to suggesting that no milk is a healthy option? It’s about choices – and moderation with the sweet stuff. I just don’t understand how leafy greens and beans are seen as an equal substitute for milk rich in protein, calcium and vitamins. Not at my house!
Enjoyed the article Amanda. I’ve drank one or two glasses of whole milk every day my entire life plus another serving or two of dairy product. My three children did also and they grew into fit and healthy adults. Being active is the key, but I believe being active is important with any diet that you follow. Thanks again.
Russell, you’re so right. When did we lose our common sense and accept sedentary lifestyles? Moderate diets and activity go a long way toward healthy, balanced lives. I hope to raise my family with both in mind. Please give my best to Margie and thanks for your comment.
[…] a column for Texas Table Top called the “Common Sense Corner.” Like my post last week about replacing milk with kale, it seems like we’re losing common sense when it comes to what we eat. Don’t let food labels […]