I can already hear what you’re thinking. “Full fat dairy products? But isn’t fat…bad?”
Even if we’ve all moved on, logically, from the low-fat craze of the 1990s, the truth is that many of us still have a knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea of consuming fat.
Sometimes we’re so used to buying low-fat and skim milk products for ourselves that we unconsciously avoid full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese for our babies and toddlers.
But little ones – up to the age of at least two – need full-fat dairy products! Here are three good reasons why:
- Brain Power: Your baby or toddler’s brain is developing rapidly at this point, and brains are literally built on fat.
- Quick Energy: With all that scooting, crawling, playing, and – oh yeah – growing, your tot is burning up an amazing amount of energy every day. He needs the extra calories available in fat to keep up with his body’s demands.
- Picky, Picky: Toddlers tend to be picky eaters, and providing full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products can act as “insurance” to make sure they’re getting all the calories and fat they need.
What about older kids, teens, and grown-ups? Well, the jury is still out on that. For decades we’ve been warned against the saturated fat in whole milk and whole milk products, but a growing body of evidence seems to suggest that full-fat dairy and other fatty foods are actually good for us…even those of us who have left childhood far behind.
While I’m not sure I’m ready to start slurping down glasses of whole milk (after a lifetime of nothing higher than 2%, that would be quite a change!) I have to admit that reading the debate has made me feel a lot better about all the times I’ve sneaked my little one’s YoBaby yogurt out of the fridge. Whole milk is a whole food, after all; minimally processed and as close to its natural form as possible.
Maybe what’s good for my kids is good for me? That’s the kind of common sense I could get behind.