You probably know that milk is a great way for kids to get their bone-building nutrients. If not, you really need to spend more time listening to the nutrition experts. Pretty much every one will tell you that the best way to get all your nutrients, particularly calcium, is from foods. But in reality—especially a reality that includes kids—this can be tough. Despite our best efforts, one out of every two children ages nine and older don’t get enough calcium. You could try to make up for this deficit by eating calcium-rich vegetables like kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage. But if you want to get as much calcium as you get in milk, you’ll need to eat a lot of them. It takes 12 cups of raw kale, for example, to match the amount of calcium in one glass of milk. Unless your child is an extraordinarily hungry, not to mention adventurous eater, that’s not likely to happen.
These are just a few of the reasons dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are the main food source of calcium for most people in the U.S. In fact, on average, milk is the top food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium for Americans age 2 and older. And while milk is an important source of essential nutrients in a kid’s diet that contributes to bone and overall health, by age 6, many are not getting the daily recommended amount of dairy. When you consider how delicious fresh, cold milk is, it’s a bit of a mystery. Nothing against kale, of course, but if you gave your kids a choice, we’re pretty sure they’d go with the milk.