No matter how much your child screws up his face at the sight of milk, you, as a mother, know how crucial this drink is for his health and growth. From enhancing bone and muscle structure to providing energy and regulating blood pressure, milk is a nutrient-rich food that needs to be consumed daily. It is known as one of the best sources of calcium and protein. So, in this article, you will find out about how much milk to give to your child, what types of milk you can pick from, and what recipes make use of milk in a delicious way.

How much milk should a child drink per day?

According to Indian dietary guidelines, every day, a child between the age of 1 and 3 years requires up to 5 servings of milk, or 500 ml of milk and related dairy products. This can meet his daily protein requirement of 16.7 g too. So, if a child is not eating any other dairy item like curd, cheese, or paneer, throughout the day, then the requirements of milk for a child would be two and a half glasses. This will meet his calcium requirement of 600 mg/day. 

When it comes to 4 to 6-year-olds, the milk and calcium requirements remain the same, while the protein needs become slightly higher, at 20.1 g/day. Hence, your child will need more milk at this stage.

Role of milk in a child’s diet

The benefits of consuming this wholesome white liquid are many:

  • Milk helps build strong bones and teeth
  • It is necessary for proper muscle contraction
  • Milk can provide energy and keep your child active
  • It can provide vitamins and minerals that take care of multiple body functions

Type of milk to choose from

As far as giving milk to babies is concerned, parents might have a concern about its fat content and childhood obesity. Thus, keeping this in mind, here are a few tips:

  • From 1 to 2 years of age, your baby can drink whole milk. Though it has considerable fat in it, this is the kind of fat that is required for brain development.
  • After 2 years of age, if the child’s weight is more than the normal or parents are concerned due to a family history of obesity, high cholesterol, or heart diseases, they can switch to low-fat milk.

Different ways to sneak in milk and milk products into your child’s diet

The benefits and goodness of milk are universally acknowledged, but, children often dislike the taste and smell of milk, and refuse to drink it. If such is the case with your child, then don’t worry, because there are many ways in which you can experiment with milk and milk products.

Here are some delicious dishes that you can try:

  1. Milkshake: This drink can mask the taste of milk nicely and yet taste great. Take a fruit, be it an apple, lychee, strawberry, or anything else except citrus fruits, and chop it into pieces. Then toss the pieces into a mixer, and add milk, and blend. Some fruits are naturally so sweet that you don’t need to add sugar, making your milkshake healthier! Add a dash of chopped or powdered nuts to the shake to increase its nutritive value.
  2. Cheesecake: If there is one dish that incorporates most of the ingredients made out of milk, it is this easy to make, no-fuss cheesecake.
    • Firstly, take some plain biscuits, add about 2 tsp. of butter to them, and coarsely grind.
    • Once done, transfer the ground mixture to a dish and flatten it, and press well using the bottom of a glass.
    • Next, heat about 1 cup of water on the stove and add 10 g of china grass (agar-agar).
    • Continue heating till it mixes well and then allow it to cool to room temperature. 
    • To the same blender used for making the biscuit base, add cottage cheese (homemade paneer made out of curdled milk can be used), fresh cream, and condensed milk (you can use a homemade version), in equal portions, about 200g each. Blend to get a smooth consistency.
    • Add the china grass mixture to this, and any fresh fruit of your choice, like mango or strawberry. Again, blend well.
    • Pour this mixture on the previously prepared biscuit base, garnish with some grated chocolate (dark, pure chocolate is a better choice than the ones with added sugar and milk solids) and allow it to set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
    • Your child will love this yummy cake when it’s time to serve! To enhance the nutrition profile, you can even garnish the cake with freshly chopped fruits.
  3. Flavoured yogurt: Most children turn up their nose when it comes to eating curd, so, why not flavour it? In a bowl, beat the curd with a small amount of sugar or honey (don’t be heavy-handed as fruits also contain natural sugar), so it becomes soft and fluffy. To this, add pureed mango (or any pulpy fruit), and there you go. Your child’s soon to be favourite snack is all set.

Mission accomplished!

While most mothers think it is a massive task to get their children to drink milk, and requires much coaxing and running around with the glass in hand, take a step forward and get creative. If your child does not like plain milk, don’t give it to him. Turn it into a tempting dish so that you can secretly accomplish your mission.

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