From celebrity websites and Instagram feeds to clean eating blogs, it appears to be trendy to ditch dairy. However experts say going dairy free can have significant downfalls.
Dr. Tanya Altmann is a pediatrician, mom and best-selling author. She says the recent trend of ditching dairy is more dangerous than people know.
"The National Osteoporosis Foundation just conducted a survey that found 6 out of 10 moms across the country are restricting their own dairy intake and that often trickles down to their kids. What I find concerning as a pediatrician is that most parents don't realize that this can have a real nutritional affect on their children."
Altmann says you have up until your early twenties to build bone density. When you take protein out of your kid's diet they are often not getting enough calcium, Vitamin D and high quality protein that they really need for proper growth and development.
"Let me put this into perspective for you. A cup of dairy milk has eight grams of high quality protein. If parents are giving a milk substitute, which I often see in my office, that only has one gram of protein and it's often not as good quality. It doesn't have as much calcium and Vitamin D. They might say 'Hey doctor we eat a lot of spinach in our house' and that's great I eat a lot of spinach too, but it takes ten cups of raw spinach to equal the calcium in one cup of milk."
She says two to three cups of dairy products are really important for all ages, but especially for kids to ensure that they're getting enough calcium, Vitamin D, potassium and high quality protein for proper growth and development.
Here's some tips to make sure your kids are getting enough calcium, Vitamin D and protein.
1. Take every opportunity whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner to add in a glass of milk.
2. If you're giving your child a snack like nut butter on whole grain crackers, add in an extra glass of milk.
3. Make sure everything your children are eating has some kind of nutritional value and they're not just filling up on empty calories.
4. Try not to eliminate any total food group from you diet without really talking to your pediatrician or a registered dietician.
"It's so important at this young age that kids really get what they need for bone health and for proper growth and development."