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Which Milk Should I Buy?
last updated:
Wed, 2/20/2013 8:12 PM

Like many parents, you have probably noticed new and different types of milk at your grocery store. Over the last few years, several reasonably priced options have become available.  These include soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk.  So which is best for my family?  Katelyn Wolfe, MS, RD, CSP, LDN and Clinical Dietitian at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has you covered. Keep reading for a breakdown of the nutrients in the different milks and her expertise in which is best for who.

"With so many options, which one should you pick? The AAP recommends not doing any cow’s milk until a child reaches 12 months, and at that time, whole milk is recommended. For children who are two or older and considered overweight or obese, the best option is skim or 1% milk. This is not only because of the fat and calorie content, but also because of the amount of protein when compared to the other milk varieties.

Basically, unless your child has an allergy or your family eats a vegan diet (no meat, dairy, seafood, eggs) the best and most economical choice is cow's milk. 

For kids with allergies, the parent must fine tune their selection. If your child has an allergy to both cow’s milk and soy, he or she may be more likely to have a nut allergy, and therefore almond and coconut milk would not be an option.  Many kids with multiple allergies drink rice milk as their option and have to get protein from other foods in the diet. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy or have concerns with his or her weight, speak with your pediatrician as these concerns may need extra medical attention.

As you can see from the break down below, all of the choices have similar calcium and vitamin D amounts.  The difference is in the calories, fat and protein."

                                          Calories    Fat        Protein      Calcium**       Vitamin D**

Whole milk                          150 kcal     8 g         8 g            30%                25%
2% milk                               120 kcal    5 g         8 g            30%                25%
1% milk                               100 kcal    2 g         8 g            30%                25%
Skim / Non-fat milk                80 kcal    0 g         8 g            30%                25%
Soy (original)                        90 kcal    3.5 g       6 g            45%                30%
Soy Light (original)                 60 kcal   1.5 g       6 g            45%                 30%
Almond milk (original)             60 kcal   2.5 g       1 g            45%                 25%
Coconut milk                         80 kcal     5 g         1 g            45%                 25%
Rice milk                              120 kcal   2.5 g       1 g            30%                 25%

* All information based on 8oz serving.  Note that varieties that are flavored such as vanilla or chocolate will have more calories from sugars used to flavor the beverages.
** Based on needs for a typical adult.  A child may need less or more based on age.

Comments:

what about goat's milk???

Posted by debbie on February 20, 2013 at 08:46 PM CST #

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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
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