Evie is off of milk. Traditional cows milk, that is. It’s a choice we made for a few reasons, but it seemed like the best decision for us and so far it’s been working great. Evie was on breastmilk (not my own) for the first six months of life, and from six month until one year she had formula. Just after turning one year we switched her grass-fed organic cows milk which I thought was the next best option to raw milk. In the back of my mind I didn’t really want her to be on milk at all, but I thought it was the best transition from formula (which was derived from cows milk) and she did seem to love it, so I did not want to take that away from her.
By no means is this decision of ours meant to persuade you to take your own child off milk – this was a choice we made that was best for us! If Evie had zero issues with it, I would have continued giving it to her for a while. Unfortunately, she did have issues. That gave me the motivation to start researching (and researching and researching) and have a chat with the pediatrician about how important it actually was (or not) for her to have it.
What I found out was that milk in a toddlers diet is to make sure they’re getting enough fat, calories, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. As long as those requirements are met, there shouldn’t be a reason to use one specific item (such as milk) in the diet to achieve that.
I’ve been having fun coming up with all the ways I can ensure Evie gets all the calories, fat (they need 30 grams a day), and vitamins she needs. I am definitely lucky I have a girl who loves to eat – that makes it a lot easier to cut out the milk. I truly think she’d rather eat than drink her calories anyway.
While we did cut out the milk, we did not cut out dairy completely. I give Evie plain whole milk yogurt which she still digests just fine and enjoys. I find she likes it most when I squeeze some fresh lemon juice in it. I also give her cheese which she loves! In case you’re wondering what’s pictured above, it’s quinoa pasta with lentils and some olive oil, basil, and cumin.
If she does get a milk beverage, it’s some homemade hemp milk.
Here are some great ways to help fill in the nutrition gaps when leaving milk out:
I made the recipe below for Evie to have as a snack between meals. I usually give her two or 3 little balls. It makes me feel better knowing she’s getting a little extra healthy fats, protein, and calcium outside her meals. As for Vitamin D I also supplement and give her fish oil. All the Vitamin D in milk is actually fortified in anyway. The pasteurization process kills what was naturally there!
Keep those guys in an airtight container in the fridge for some healthy snacks rich in healthy fats and calcium. I don’t know about you, but I get concerned about my own calcium intake too, so I certainly don’t mind sharing these with her!
Do you have your child on regular milk or give them something else?