How much milk does your family need each day?
Children 1 to 3 years old:
2 cups per day
Children 4 to 8 years old:
2½ cups per day
Adults and children 9 years and older:
3 cups per day
Other foods that are good sources of calcium:
Here are other foods that can give you about the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk:
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1½ oz cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella
- 2 oz American cheese
- 1 cup orange juice with added calcium
- 1 cup soy milk with added calcium
When reading labels look for products that contain at least 25% to 30% calcium per serving.
Try to make milk a part of meals and snacks.
Milk is packed with vitamins, minerals and protein for strong bones and healthy bodies.
Adults and children 2 years and older should drink fat free or 1% lowfat milk. Fat free and 1% lowfat milk have the same vitamins, minerals, and protein as whole and 2% reduced fat milk, but without the extra fat, so they’re good for your heart.
1 year old children should drink whole milk.
When can I begin giving my baby dairy foods? At 8 to 12 months of age, you can begin giving your baby dairy foods once or twice a day. This includes dairy foods such as yogurt and diced cheese.
What about vitamin D and milk? All types of milk have vitamin D added to it, not just whole milk. Vitamin D is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. Check with your health care provider to see if you or your children need to take a vitamin D supplement.
How can we switch to fat free or 1% lowfat milk? You can make gradual changes. Start by changing to 2% milk, then change to 1% or less. You can also mix together some different types of milk to make these gradual changes. Soon you and your family will enjoy the taste of lower fat milk.
What if milk causes digestive problems? This happens in some people who have lactose intolerance. These people may have trouble digesting lactose—the natural sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and gas.
In general, people with lactose intolerance can:
- Drink ½ cup of milk along with other food—do not drink milk on an empty stomach.
- Eat yogurt or hard, aged cheeses such as cheddar cheese.
- Drink milk that is lactose free.
- Drink milk or eat dairy foods after taking lactase enzyme pills or drops.
If you or your children are lactose intolerant or if you are allergic to milk, talk to your WIC nutritionist who can help you get a different milk.