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Ask the experts: Milo

Q. “I would like to know if you could give me some advice. How good is the good old Milo for kids – especially if they drink a lot of it with milk?”

John

A. “Health professionals have categorised drinks for children using a traffic light system. The only drinks with a green light, ie. drink freely/for every day, are water and low-fat milk*. Other drinks are not recommended because they contain sugar or other additives that are not so good for health. Flavoured milks (including Milo made with milk here) are in the amber category along with flavoured water, diet drinks and fruit juice. It’s recommended that if children have these drinks then it’s only occasionally, in small serving sizes; the Ministry of Health advises that means less than once a week and half a glass for children under five years, and one glass for older children.

Because Milo powder does contain useful nutrients (such as iron and calcium), when made with mainly water it may be a better choice than other sweetened or diet drinks, but remember that a glass of Milo made per the instructions has nearly two teaspoons of sugar. Making it with a low-fat milk improves the nutrient value, but drinking milk without flavouring is always a better habit to encourage.

It is also important to remember that while milk is an excellent food for children, it is just one of the foods they need each day. Children consuming too much milk (more than two cups a day) are at risk of missing out on other important foods because the milk fills them up.

In summary, Milo made with milk can be an occasional drink for children, but limit to less than once a week (and restrict other sweetened drinks) and have it as part of a varied and balanced diet.”

*For children under two, regular (full-fat) milk is recommended.
 
Updated July 2017
 
First published: May 2007



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