Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Milk Question

A reader emailed me...

Gayle, I've been reading your blog for a while now. I am trying to get our food bill down. (3 boys 12, 10, 4) I spend so much on milk and juice. How do you make one gallon of milk last a week? Carrie from NH

Beverages are one of the quickest ways to flush your grocery budget down the toilet. We've been told to believe that our kids must have multiple glasses of milk or juices to get the vitamins and minerals they need. And that is certainly one way to do it but not the only way.

Milk at our house isn't for chugging. I was raised in a milk drinking family. I would drink at least 4 tall glasses a day with meals and snacks. But I quickly realized how much that cost after I was married and had kids. I have one big milk drinker and 3 that could care less. I offer them one glass of milk per day if they want it but all the other times they have a choice of homemade iced green tea (so cheap and good for you) or homemade lemonade (still cheap) or the healthiest drink of all.....WATER. They don't NEED fruit juices, which most are made with sugar or corn syrup anyway and they don't NEED multiple gallons of milk per week. What they do need is a healthy balanced diet and maybe a good multi-vitamin.

And Calcium needs can be met through all sorts of foods besides milk;
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Rhubarb
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Okra
  • White beans
  • Baked beans
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Bok choy
  • Almonds
So at our house, 1 gallon of milk lasts a week to a week and a half. I use bulk powdered milk for baking and sometimes I even mix 1/2 fresh and 1/2 reconstituted-powdered in my milk jug as it starts to run out and the kids don't even know the difference.

These ideas have saved me HUGE on my grocery bill.

Thanks for your question.


Alysha said...

That was a GREAT post! Thank you!
I love that you also listed great ways to get calcium! I could really use that because i drink WAY too much milk sometimes! And now that we are weaning our son to whole when we drink nonfat, we need to save where we can!

Candi said...

Thanks so much! You are very creative with your budget and I'm so thankful you share them with us :)

Kori said...

Also, everything I have read and been told by pediatricians - kids should only get 8 ounces of milk a day. Otherwise they are filling up on lots of calcium, but missing lots of other nutrients.
And no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day - and I always dilute with equal amounts of water. Or even more water!
Adults are supposed to get 3 - 8oz glasses. But kids don't need all of that. What we ALL need more of is water. :-)

Cindy Brick said...

It's not just juice that can be diluted...if you buy whole milk, you can easily add 4-6 cups of water, and still have great-tasting (and much lower-fat) milk. And it sure stretches it farther!

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, humans are the only mammals that drink milk past weening. Milk just isn't necessary for older kids/adults. It is one way to get calcium - as you point out there are many other ways.

Betsy said...

We also pull the tightwad trick of saving leftover milk--if a child doesn't finish their cup of milk at breakfast, that cup gets saved until the next meal (in the fridge, of course). If it's not enough to really save for a drink and I'm going to be baking, I'll save it to add in place of fresh milk. We NEVER throw away milk; with 2 toddlers and a preschooler, we still keep our milk consumption to about 1.5-2 gallons a week, and that includes milk used for homemade yogurt and most baking (our dried milk isn't any cheaper than fresh).

MGF said...

My mom used to stretch our milk by using half real milk, half powdered milk. Five kids never knew the difference. In fact, I was an adult when she told me what she did. What a surprise!!

HeatherLee said...

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.htm is a great link of Vegan calcium sources. It's not how much calcium you drink or eat. It's actually how much you keep. Protein causes a huge calcium loss. So, the amount you get from milk is quite small compared to other foods.

Anonymous said...

Cn you please let me know your green iced tea recipe?
Thanks so much!

Halfmoon Girl said...

My kids have milk on their cereal, and then maybe a glass later with a snack. I never buy juice, unless we make popsicles in hotter months. Plain old water does the trick the rest of the time!

Frugal Friend said...

Amen! Love your post. I am amazed how much organic milk some families drink. This post would save them lots of money! We have one gallon of regular milk per 4 days. And that's because we have lots of cheap/free cereal.

I grew up in the Philippines and never had cold milk until moving to America. All we had was dry milk- drank hot! So I can forgo milk and cheese anytime.

Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this post because I have 2 children (out of 7) that are allergic to milk and it has to be completely cut out of their diets. I do buy rice milk or soy milk in a pinch for special times of cereal or for over granola.They will occasionally drink that sort of milk straight but not very often. My peditrician assured me as long as they eat healty they can get their calcium thru other food sources just fine.

Ritkiss said...

I use powder milk in most of my recipes. I even have a homemade cream of soup recipe that cost pennies. It tastes great and has very little fat.