Parent question: My toddler prefers to drink milk than eat real food. How much milk should he be having?
Lots of kids like to drink milk, sometimes instead of eating food. The reasons for this can be many.
Some kids find it hard to bite and chew, so they prefer to drink
Some kids like foods that fill them up without having to sit down at the table
Some kids like to drink milk from a bottle because they find it soothing to suck at the teat
Some kids just really enjoy the taste of milk
So how much do they need? First we have to know more about dairy foods.
Milk is considered a dairy food, along with yoghurt and cheese. For toddlers, aged 1-3 years, the national guidelines recommend about 1.5 serves of dairy foods every day. If this was just made up of milk, it works out to about 375mLs of milk. If this was just made up of yoghurt, it works out to be about 300g or a bit over a cup of yoghurt. If this was just made up of cheese, it works out to be 60g or 3 slices of cheese. But in real life, most kids eat a combination of these foods. So to meet the requirements, we can combine these amounts. For example, a daily intake of dairy foods might be 1 cup of milk and a small tub of yoghurt. Or perhaps a tub of yoghurt, slice of cheese and half a cup of milk. Or perhaps a cup of milk and a slice of cheese. There's no need to measure these out each day, but this gives you a bit of a guide. It's totally ok if on some days your child has more, and on some days your child has less. But if your toddler is drinking milk at every meal, or eating multiple tubs of yoghurt each day, then it might be an indicator that they're filling up on dairy foods.
If you'd like to help your child do as well with food as they do with milk, then first you need to understand why they prefer milk. If you'd like help with this then please get in touch.
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