Types of milk
Standardised whole milk has a fat content of 3.5%. It is recommended that children between the age of one and two should be given whole milk rather than lower fat varieties of milk.
This is because young children need the extra energy, fat and vitamin A in whole milk, which are important for growth and development. A 200ml glass of whole milk has 136 calories.
Semi–skimmed milk contains half the fat of whole milk; 1.7% of fat compared to the 3.5% in standardised whole milk. Semi–skimmed milk is the most popular type of milk in Northern Ireland.
Semi–skimmed milk has fewer calories (95 calories in a 200ml glass) and less fat than whole milk, and less vitamin A.
Levels of other nutrients including protein, calcium, and vitamins such as vitamin B2 and B12 are not reduced. Semi–skimmed milk can be gradually introduced to a child’s diet from two onwards, provided they are eating well and growing well.
Skimmed milk is virtually fat free with just 0.1 – 0.3% fat. Skimmed milk contains less calories (70 calories in 200ml glass), fat and vitamin A than whole milk, but has roughly the same amount of protein, calcium and other non–fat soluble vitamins.
Skimmed milk is less creamy in appearance and taste due to its reduced fat content. Skimmed milk is not suitable as a main drink for children under five.
As with other reduced fat milks, 1% has less fat, calories and vitamin A than whole milk, but has similar amounts of other nutrients including protein and calcium. Similar to skimmed milk, 1% fat milk should not be given as a main drink to children under the age of five.