Dairy and your Lifestage


Kids are growing constantly and need good nutrition to build healthy bodies. Eating patterns that include foods from the five food groups  will help kids get the range of nutrients and fuel they need. As a parent, you are a role model for your child’s eating habits so enjoy a variety of healthy foods with your child every day.

Dairy foods are best known for providing calcium to help build strong bones. Bones grow rapidly during childhood. As well as calcium, dairy foods provide kids with other essential nutrients including protein for growth and development, zinc for brain function and vitamin A for healthy eyes.

But most Australian kids aren’t meeting the recommended serves of milk, cheese and yogurt and/or alternatives every day. By including milk, cheese and yogurt in kids’ meals, they will become familiar with the delicious taste and creamy texture of dairy foods and build good habits for life.

Depending on their age and gender, your child needs between one-and-a-half and three serves of dairy foods every day. Read the table below to see how much milk, cheese and yogurt and/or alternatives is recommended for your child at every age.


Grow their dairy as they grow

As your child grows, their intake of milk, cheese, yogurt and/or alternatives needs to grow too.

Here are some tips to help your child meet their recommendations:

  • Swap junk foods such as hot chips, cakes and muffins, potato crisps, sweet biscuits, ice-cream, pies and chocolate for foods such as fruit, vegetables and dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Swap soft drinks, fruit juice and sweetened fruit drinks for milk, smoothies or flavoured milk.
  • Keep the fridge stocked with fresh milk, cheese and yogurt and pack a dairy snack in your child’s lunchbox. For lunchbox recipe ideas, visit The Dairy Kitchen.
  • Include cheese in sandwiches.
  • Start the day with dairy and enjoy a wholegrain cereal-based breakfast with plenty of milk with your child. If you’re running late, grab a breakfast drink.
  • Cheese and yogurt are great as snacks. Visit The Dairy Kitchen for more child-friendly snack ideas.

Find out more about kids’ health and dairy foods in our Food and fitness for children fact sheet.