New research links refrigerator staple to teenage height


Family Features

Drinking real dairy milk is especially important for growing kids, and new research suggests regularly drinking more milk throughout childhood is associated with an increase in teenage height, according to a new study in The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers followed more than 700 kids from the time they were born, analyzing their height and diet from ages 2-17, and found each additional glass of milk kids drank per day throughout childhood increased their height at age 17 by around 0.39 centimeters. That means the more milk kids drank regularly growing up, the taller they were. Water and other beverages, including 100 percent juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, didn’t have the same effect.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two cups of milk and milk products each day for kids ages 2-3, two and a half cups each day for kids 4-8 and three cups each day for kids 9-18. While it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow strong without milk in their diets, 85 percent of Americans fall short of these daily recommendations, which includes most children over 3 years old (The Journal of Nutrition, 2010).

Serving an eight-ounce glass of milk alongside meals or snacks is an easy way to give kids nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, and get them closer to these recommendations. Try pairing these homemade cereal bars from Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, with a cold glass of milk for an easy after-school snack.

Homemade Cereal Bars

Servings: 16

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

31/2 cups dry cereal

Line 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium size sauce pan, combine peanut butter and honey and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add in dry cereal and stir until completely coated then press into lined pan. Use piece of parchment paper to press firmly down on bars.

Refrigerate bars 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Serve with eight-ounce glass of milk.

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