Friday, September 25, 2009


I am lucky. My kids are pretty good about drinking their milk. This has come, however, after several years of trial and error (2%,1%, organic, milkman?), milk-pushing strategies (we've put chocolate chips at the bottom of the glass), and many stinky lunchboxes. At this point, when I'm sitting in the pediatrician's office and I need to check the box following the question, "Does your child drink 16 ounces of milk a day?" I can report "Yes" and not feel like I'm completely lying. Are they really getting a whole 16 ounces? Weeeelllllll, they come super-close.

Two things have helped a lot in getting close to that 16 ounces. First, we switched to buying Milk That Looks Like Juice Boxes for lunches. I was so thrilled when I finally found these in my supermarket. Woo hoo! No more smelly lunchboxes. You see, I used to put their milk in a thermos kind of container. They never really drank the whole thing, and so the leftover milk would come home from school or daycare and it always leaked. Yuck! The milk boxes that we buy are not cheap, but at least I'm not replacing lunchboxes all the time! The only downside is that because the containers get thrown out when they are done, I'm not sure if they took a few sips or if they drank the whole thing.

The second thing that has helped a lot is that we've switched to a milk delivery service. Our bottled milk comes from Munroe Dairy in Rhode Island. Our milk man, Jay, is fabulous and he has a great sense of humor. We came to be Monroe customers, when one day I happened to be working from home, and this big Cow Truck pulled onto our street. It really looked like a cow. Jay came to the door and asked if we'd like a free bottle of milk. I took one and put it on the table for dinner with my husband, kids and my parents that night. The milk was so good that between the 4 adults and 2 kids, we finished the bottle right at dinner. I am a huge fan of the glass bottles. It is amazing to hear your kid ask, "Can I have more milk please?"

Nevertheless, most nights, the kids don't drink a full 8 ounces with their dinner. I was curious to see how many ounces we are really giving them, so I filled the cups that they usually drink from with the usual amount of milk and then I measured it. It's only a half cup (4 oz in case you forgot that fun-fact from home economics). Sure they also get a little milk if they choose to have cereal for breakfast, but they don't really get another 4 ounces out of that.

My son has a new after-school habit. He's asking for a little handful of dark chocolate chips (I know where he gets that habit from!) and a glass of our skim-from-the-milkman milk. Sounds like a great habit to me - and I'll make it a big glass.

A lot of my friends ask how milk scores on the NuVal scale. Well, as you might have guessed, skim milk is best with an almost perfect score of 91. That's what my DH and I both drink. And the kids are happy with that when we are at home. On the go, my son prefers strawberry or chocolate milk and while my daughter will drink non-flavored milk, the milk boxes we buy do not have a skim option. Check out some of these milk scores:

Dean's Fat Free Skim Milk: 91
Garelick Farms 1% Milkfat Milk: 78
Horizon Organic 2% Milkfat Milk: 55
Garelick Farms Whole Milk: 50
Organic Valley Chocolate Milk 2% Milkfat: 24
Nestle Nesquik Strawberry Milk Reduced Fat 2% Milkfat: 23
Chug Milk Shake Vanilla: 12

Parade Magazine featured an article last Sunday entitled "Why You Need the Sunshine Vitamin". The author, Dr. Mark Liponis, highlighed a recent study of more than 6000 children across the U.S. which showed that 70% had low levels of vitamin D— 61% were insufficient and 9% were deficient. According to the article, "a low level of vitamin D puts kids at risk for bone problems and could be a precursor of osteoporosis later in life. Kids with low vitamin D levels also had higher blood pressure, on average, as well as lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels." This is a good reminder for me not to fudge it when my pediatrician asks if my kids are getting the recommended amount of milk. Instead, I need to make sure they truly are.


  1. Ohhh noooooo! I have to take issue with you on this one Melissa. I am posting my blog from a recent weekly tip.

  2. I am not a milk drinker, but I have taken a liking to unsweetened Diamond Almond Breeze. It's non-dairy of course. I use it in baking and shakes mostly. When I was shopping at HyVee this week I noticed the chocolate version received a NuVal score of 89. I score I feel good about.

  3. Nuval's milk comments answered my question which is...does lactose free change the score. Nuval says no. Great I love skim lactose free milk. For the adults out there I also think it helps to maintain or lose weight. I am curious to hear what TSheehan has to say about the subject.

  4. Casey used to be a milk hound (she actually was drinking too much milk when we weaned her off her bottles). I am not sure when it happened but now I have to bribe her to drink milk. Usually giving into adding Hersey's chocolate syrup. I do love Munroe! Their skim milk tastes more like 1% and their milk doesn't seem to go sour like store bought does so quickly.

  5. When I weaned my daughter she wasn't all that psyched about the taste of milk so I started adding a little Yo Baby drinkable yogurt to it and that did the trick. She's 2 now and we still give her a milk/yogurt mix because she seems to drink it all when we do that and she gets her 16 oz a day.

  6. I have a hard time getting my son to drink milk. We recently switched to Silk Chocolate Soy Milk. He doesn't love it, but he'll drink it. Prior to that I was using Carnition instant breakfast powder to flavor his milk and that worked for a little while.

  7. Lactose causing weight gain...interesting.

    Glad to see Dean's Skim does great on the NuVal system -- that's typically what we buy. I LOVE Horizon Fat-Free Organic milk, but it is PRICEY.

    Great post!