Plant-based milk is not good for all children, particularly under the under of 5. The new health guidelines have provided information regarding what should children drink.
Plant-based milk is made up of oats, rice, coconut, and some other blends. The plant-based milk except the “fortified soy milk” lack essential nutrients required for optimal growth of children below 5 years of age.
These guidelines came from the expert panel of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The panel also included experts from the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The panel recommended a key change of avoiding plant-based milk based on new dinking trends.
Dr. Megan Lott said that people have got a huge interest in plant-based milk in the last 10 years. They have a major misconception that the milk is nutritionally equal to cow or dairy milk. However, this is not actually true.
She added that plant-based milk does not provide enough nutrients like vitamin D and calcium. These are the basic nutrients that children need during their growing age.
Drinks that children should avoid
Children should also avoid zero or low- calorie drinks. Technically, there is no research that describes their harms to humans. But at the same time, no research even describes them as safe substitutes.
People should avoid giving toddlers milk and flavored milk to their children. In the past, health comities suggested that taking flavored milk is better than drink no milk at all.
Also read-Is Juice Healthy For Kids?
However, the present guidelines suggest that the age under 5 years is the key age for developing healthy habits in our children. Therefore, parents should persuade their kids to drink dairy milk.
The health guidelines also recommend avoiding some other drinks such as carbonated beverages like soda and caffeinated beverages.
The other key change is about commercial juices. According to the guidelines, children under 1 year age should not drink juice at all. From 1 to 3 years, they can drink no more than a half cup of juice per day. From 4 to 5 years of age, it’s no more than 3/4th cup per day.
Drinks that children should consume
Guidelines recommend that infants need breast milk or infant formula only. After 6 months of age, they should be given a small amount of water as well.
Children of age 1 to 2 years should drink 2 to 3 cups of whole milk daily. At the age of 2 to 3 years, they should consume 2 cups of low-fat milk. From 4 to 5 years, children should consume 2 and a half cup of low-fat milk.
While talking about water, for 6 to 12 months old children, the recommended quantity is half to one cup. For 1 to 3 years old children, it is one to four cups a day. For 4 to 5 years old children, it is up to 5 cups per day.
Lott told that some children have an allergy to cow or dairy milk or are lactose intolerant. They may have religious rules or family tradition to be on a vegan diet. In such cases, they should definitely consult with a pediatrician or a dietitian.
Taking her personal experience as an example, Lott told that every child has specific needs regarding food. Something that is better for one child may not be good for another child. Therefore, parents need to talk about their child’s need for a pediatrician.