Whether children are going to school or, as is currently the case, learning remotely at home, school remains one of life’s most important periods for parents to experience with their children.
This is when a child develops the most physically, mentally, and cognitively, thus requiring the most attention to their diet, so that it’s balanced and provides all the nutrients their body needs. Fortified powdered milk, in particular, should be an essential part of their diet at this stage, because it helps provide all the crucial nutrients required for their growth.
It’s very common at that age for children to rebel against their parents by asserting positions that signal their personal independence. This tends to come with changes in their dietary habits, where children may exclude milk from their diet as a way for them to express that they’ve grown up, or because they’re bored of the taste of milk. It might even be simply because they’re aiming to emulate older people in their environment by drinking sweetened beverages, soft drinks, and fruit juices.
Many parents falsely believe that the only reason children should drink milk is for the calcium they need for growth, and that there are no nutritional differences between liquid and powdered milk varieties.
Parents are generally unaware that fortified powdered milk, in particular, is not only natural and free of added sugar, preservatives and colourings, but also contains all the nutrients their child needs for healthy development.
This includes proteins for building strong muscle mass and maintaining healthy body weight, calcium for healthy and strong bone development, vitamin D for better calcium absorption, vitamin A to boost a child’s growth and immunity, zinc for the normal functioning of the immune system, and essential B vitamins for combating fatigue and tiredness. And, of course, there’s vitamin C which boosts immunity and is included in just the right concentrations to ensure complete absorption of Iron, which is essential for a child’s physical and mental development, and for strengthening immunity.
It is worth noting that Iron cannot be added to liquid milk, many varieties of which also do not contain vitamins A, C or D. Moreover, liquid milk doesn’t contain the right concentrations of vitamins and minerals to meet a child’s developmental needs, leaving children who only consume this variety at risk of numerous nutrient deficiencies during this vital period of their life. Alternatively, fortified powdered milk is nutritionally designed for school-age children, making it the right choice
Recent studies have shown that 80% of 6-13 years old are not getting their daily needs of vitamins A, D, E or Calcium. Iron deficiency is also rampant in the region. Such findings make it even more important for children to consume fortified powdered milk every day to avoid health issues that can include:
1. Insufficient growth
2. Fatigue and tiredness
3. Iron deficiency anaemia
4. Higher rates of bone fractures and osteoporosis
5. Poor muscle mass
6. Weakened immune systems
Therefore, both parents and children should realise that drinking two glasses a day of fortified powdered milk that is designed specifically for school-age children is important for the overall growth.
Parents should also teach children the benefits of drinking fortified powdered milk, which include:
1- Healthy hydration
2- Healthy physical and mental development, thanks to healthy fats, Iron, Calcium, and vitamins D and A
3- Combating fatigue and tiredness thanks to B vitamins
4- Building strong and healthy bones and teeth thanks to proteins, vitamin D, and Calcium
5- Maintaining muscle mass and a healthy weight thanks to Proteins, vitamin D and Calcium
6- Building a healthy immune system with the support of vitamins C and A, and Zinc
Parents play a major role in encouraging children to develop healthy eating habits. They are ideal role models for their children, and can guide them to drink milk by drinking a glass themselves every morning at breakfast. It’s also helpful to encourage a child to prepare their own glass of milk so they learn self-reliance, which helps them develop confidence and a sense of becoming all grown up.
Dr Dana Al-Hamwi is a Clinical Dietician, and holds a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Damascus and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Sheffield in the UK.