Whole Milk or Two Percent For a Toddler?

Posted on Nov 12, 2009 by No Comments


When do you stop giving whole milk to a toddler? Well, it depends. From what I’ve read, the decision to switch from whole to 2% milk should be based on your toddler’s diet.

Of course, all toddlers can be picky eaters, so that comes in to play too. When thinking of your child’s diet, think of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals. Pretty much all experts agree that whole milk (if you are not breastfeeding and your child isn’t allergic) should be given at 1 year of age until 2 years, when the debate between whole and 2% kicks in.

There is a good article at Parenting.com on this very subject. It has helped me to consider what types of fat and calories my daughter is getting. Some days are better than others – she has chicken, veggies, potatoes (or mac and cheese) and grapes. Those are among her favorite things to eat.

On those days, I’m confident she gets everything she needs. Sometimes she eats practically nothing. On those days, it’s a large glass (or actually bottle) of milk for her.

I’m a big proponent of feeding healthy fats to kids as their bodies and brains really need it. Whole milk does have saturated fat, and for some 2 year olds it’s too much. In fact, a glass of 2% milk actually has more protein than a glass of whole milk and much less fat.

But, when you cut out the milk fat be sure to replace it with healthy fats from other sources. Think fish, nut butters, and lean meat. (Tip on nut butters: because of allergic reactions to peanuts, almond butter is sometimes the safer way to go).

Take a look at where the other fat and calories can come from – in our case, on the days that my daughter doesn’t eat much I know that her body needs fat and calories, along with the other nutrients in milk, and she’s sure to drink it so I’m certain to give her a big glass of Vitamin D, whole milk.

So, for now, that’s our decision – we’re sticking with whole milk until our doctor recommends otherwise.

photo credit: striatic

Posted in: Food, Health, Maternity

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