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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some recipes that use milk?

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What nutrients does milk provide?

  • Calcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong and hard and prevents bone disease (Osteoporosis). Calcium also helps your heart and muscles to work well and may help to prevent high blood pressure.
  • Vitamin A helps keep your eyes and skin healthy, and your bones to grow.
  • Vitamin D is added to milk. Vitamin D helps your body use the calcium it needs to build strong bones and keep them hard.
  • NOTE: Our bodies can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Minnesota is so far north of the equator that it does not get direct sunlight year round. So we need to get our vitamins from food (or supplements). Milk is one of the easiest ways to do so.
  • Protein is needed for growth, development and repair of your muscles and other body tissues. It also helps fight infection and disease.

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What are the differences between fat free skim, low-fat (1%), reduced-fat (2%), and whole milk?

The only difference is the amount of fat and calories.

NOTE: The more fat milk has, the more calories it will also.

Most of the fat in milk is in the cream. Skim milk has all of the cream removed while increasing amounts are left in 1%, 2% and whole milk.

Skim and 1% milk have the same amount of protein, calcium and vitamins A & D as whole milk.

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How is skim milk better for adults and children over 2 than whole milk?

Most children and adults often eat more calories and fat each day than they need. Skim milk has about 1/2 the calories and none of the fat that whole milk has.

The fat in milk is saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can increase your risk for both heart disease and cancer.

1 cup or
8 oz. of Milk
Saturated Fat
Skim Milk
80 calories
0 grams
0 grams
1% Milk
100 calories
2-3 grams
1-2 grams
2% Milk
120 calories
5 grams
3 grams
Whole Milk
150 calories
8 grams
5 grams


For adults and children, three 1-cup servings of whole milk provide more than the recommended limit of saturated fat for a whole day (and that's without counting all the other foods that have saturated fat that you may eat like meat, cheese, butter and fried foods).

If you don't like the taste of skim milk, first try 2%, gradually switch to 1%, and eventually try skim.

NOTE: To help ease the change from one kind of milk to another, try mixing the two milks (like 2% and 1%) for a week before completely switching over.

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Why shouldn't babies (under 1 year of age) drink milk?

During your baby's first year of life, the main source of fat, calories, vitamins and minerals should be breastmilk. If mom is unable to breastfeed, iron-fortified formula should be the main source.

Cow's milk and goat's milk are not the same as breastmilk or infant formula.

  • Milk does not provide all the fat, calories and nutrients (especially iron) that your baby needs in order to grow well and be healthy.
  • Milk has too much sodium for your baby.
  • The protein in milk can hurt your baby's tummy.

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Why does WIC provide whole milk for toddlers under 2 years of age?

Toddlers (up to 2 years old) grow very fast and their brains are continuing to develop. Extra fat and calories are needed to support this growth.

Whole milk is an easy way to be assured that your toddler is getting enough to grow well.

NOTE: A toddler should only drink 2 cups of whole milk daily.

Follow your Health Care Provider's recommendations for the type of milk to serve your toddler.

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Why should toddlers drink milk from a cup instead of a bottle?

At the age of one most children should be drinking liquids from a cup and no longer using a bottle. Milk in the bottle can cause problems because:

  • Your child's teeth can become damaged ("baby bottle tooth decay") by the constant wash of milk, which has natural sugars in it, against his teeth. This can cause problems with his adult teeth.
  • Your toddler needs a wide variety of foods and that means milk is just a small part of his diet. Children are more likely to drink too much milk if it is put in a bottle.
  • Your child may gain too much weight.
  • Your child may suffer from ear infections (especially if given at night or when napping).

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What if milk upsets your stomach?

You may have trouble digesting the natural sugar in milk; this is called lactose intolerance. Common symptoms of lactose intolerance that can occur after drinking milk are: nausea, cramps, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Some ideas that may help you digest milk better are:

  • Drink small amounts with meals (instead of on an empty stomach). If you are able to do this without upsetting your stomach, slowly increase the amount of milk you drink over time.
  • Try Lactose-Free milk.
  • Try hard cheese, yogurt or ice cream. They have smaller amounts of lactose.

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What if you don't like milk?

Milk is an important part of your diet because it is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. If you don't like the taste or texture of milk, try these ideas to help you include milk in your daily diet:

  • Use milk to make pudding and custards.
  • Add milk to fruit smoothies and milkshakes.
  • Cook soups and rice with milk instead of water.
  • Make hot cereal and hot cocoa mix using milk instead of water.
  • Add some chocolate or strawberry flavoring to your milk.
  • For more ideas, see What are some recipes that use milk?

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How much dairy should you eat each day?

What is a serving?

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) milk = 1 grade-school size carton of milk
  • 1 1/2 oz. of cheese = the size of 3 dominoes or a 9-volt battery
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) yogurt = the size of 2 ice cream scoops

NOTE: One serving of cheese or yogurt has just about the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk.

The number of servings of dairy foods you should eat each day depends on your age:

  • Children 1-5 years old need 2 servings (2 cups daily).

Example for one day:

  • 1/2 cup milk with cereal at breakfast, and
  • 3/4 oz. cheese in half a grilled cheese sandwich at lunch, and
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with fruit as a mid-day snack, and
  • 1/2 cup milk in a cup at dinner.
  • Pregnant women 18 years old and younger need 4 servings (4 cups daily).

Example for one day:

  • 1 cup milk in a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and
  • 1 carton (8 oz.) of chocolate milk at lunch, and
  • 1 1/2 oz. cheese with crackers as a mid-day snack, and
  • 1 cup yogurt with granola and fruit for dessert.
  • Women, including pregnant women 19 years and older, need 3 servings (3 cups daily).

Example for one day:

  • 1/2 cup milk with cereal at breakfast, and
  • 1 1/2 oz. cheese on a deli sandwich at lunch, and
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with fruit as a mid-day snack, and
  • 1 cup of milk in a glass at dinner.

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