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Dairy Council

Key Stage 1

Our ‘Milk and More’ resource is aimed at the parents of pupils starting P1, and focuses on the importance of eating well throughout the school day including breakfast, nutritious break-time snacks and healthy packed lunches. It also highlights the nutritional benefits of mid-morning milk for primary school children.

Milk & More

This booklet is aimed at the parents of children starting P1 and focuses on the importance of eating well throughout the school day.

Download The Booklet

Head first for milk when your child starts Primary School

Eating well is important throughout the school day, and making milk part of that healthy routine is a great start to your child’s time at school.

Many schools in Northern Ireland provide milk through the School Milk Scheme. Parents make a contribution towards the cost; this varies from area to area but, on average, the 189ml carton of milk costs around 20p a day… fantastic value when you consider the benefits. 

  • A carton of school milk has calcium, which is needed for growing bones… the third pint will provide half of a five-year-old child’s daily calcium needs

  • Mid-morning milk is also a good source of protein, iodine and vitamin B12 … and contains other important nutrients including vitamin B2, phosphorus and potassium

  • Milk is a good break time choice for children’s teeth … milk and water are the only drinks recommended by dentists for between meals

  • Break time milk can help beat thirst and keep children well hydrated … ask at your child’s new school about how he or she can receive break time milk.

Fuel for School

School mornings can be hectic but it’s definitely worth making sure your child has time for breakfast. By breakfast time, most children won’t have eaten for more than 10 hours so their bodies, and especially their brains, need refuelling. 

Breakfast can give children’s daily nutrient needs a boost too; providing them with some of the important vitamins and minerals they need for good health.

Healthy snacking for healthy teeth

Many primary schools now run healthy snacking schemes allowing only nutritious foods and drinks such as fruit and milk at breaktime. This is good news for children’s diets in general, and for their teeth in particular. 

That’s because what children eat and drink between meals can have a big effect on their dental health. 

Every time children eat or drink something containing sugar, bacteria in plaque (the sticky coating on teeth) use the sugar as a fuel and produce acid as a waste product. Acid attacks the teeth. The more often teeth are exposed to acid, the greater the risk of decay. So dentists recommend keeping sugary food and drink mainly to meal times.

Sweet enough already?

For tooth friendly between–meal snacks and drinks try:

  • bread e.g. sandwiches or toast

  • fruit

  • small cubes of cheese

  • vegetables e.g. pieces of raw carrot, tomato wedges

  • sugar–free cereals

  • unsweetened yogurt and fromage frais

  • water and milk


Sugar isn’t the only issue for dental health. Acidic drinks such as fizzy drinks (even ‘diet’ ones), squash and fruit juice can also damage teeth by a process called erosion. As with sugary stuff, the best protection plan is to keep acidic drinks for mealtimes. 

Did you know?

Milk and water are recommended by dentists as the best choices for drinks between meals.


needed for normal growth & development of bones

+ Nutrients

Good source of protein, iodine, potassium, vitamins B12, B2.


can help beat thirst and keep children well hydrated


needed for normal growth & development of bones

+ Nutrients

Good source of protein, iodine, potassium, vitamins B12, B2.


can help beat thirst and keep children well hydrated

Nutrients in school milk

Along with calcium, a carton of mid–morning milk provides lots of other essential nutrients including protein, potassium, iodine, phosphorus and B–vitamins. It’s a powerful boost to meeting children’s nutrient needs; a carton of school milk will provide more than half of a five–year–old child’s calcium, phosphorus, iodine and vitamin B2 requirements and a third of their protein needs.

Percentage (%) of a primary school child’s nutrient needs* provided by a carton (189ml) of semi–skimmed milk:


  • Vitamin B2

  • Vitamin B12

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus

  • Iodine

  • Protein

4–6 years

  • 59%

  • 100%+

  • 52%

  • 52%

  • 28%

  • 34%

7–10 years

  • 47%

  • 100%+

  • 43%

  • 41%

  • 15%

  • 24%

*RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake)

All the milk provided in primary schools is semi–skimmed. Semi–skimmed milk has fewer calories and less fat than whole milk, and less vitamin A. But levels of other nutrients including protein, calcium, and vitamins such as vitamin B2 and B12 aren’t reduced. Breaktime milk is also a good source of fluid to help beat thirst and keep children well hydrated. If children are dehydrated they can feel groggy and irritable and their memory and concentration suffer.

Lunches they’ll love

If your child is taking packed lunches to school, you might find that coming up with healthy ideas they’ll enjoy is a challenge! So here’s some help and inspiration… 

As an easy guide to getting the lunchbox balance right, include at least one item from each of the four main food groups, and save any fatty and sugary foods for an occasional treat.

  • 1 Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta & other starchy carbohydrates

  • 2 Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins

  • 3 Fruit and vegetables

  • 4 Milk and dairy foods

A week of ideas

It’s a good idea to vary what you put in your child’s lunchbox – that way their lunches will be more interesting and they’ll be getting a wider selection of nutrients. But don’t try too many new foods in the first few weeks of starting school – until they’ve had time to settle in, stick to things you know they’ll enjoy.


  • Cheese and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread

  • Grapes and satsuma

  • Slice of fruit bread

  • Yogurt drink


  • Mini pitta pocket with egg salad

  • Bottle of fizzy water

  • Individual can of fruit pieces in juice

  • Fromage frais


  • Tuna and sweetcorn pasta salad

  • Fruit scone

  • Apple

  • Carton of milk


  • Chicken wrap

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Yogurt

  • Carton of unsweetened orange juice


  • Bagel with cream cheese and tomato

  • Banana

  • Small box of raisins

  • Carton of milk