Have you ever noticed how some things just taste better with milk? Sure, you can eat them on their own, but why would you want to when you have all that rich and creamy cold goodness to wash them down with? Let’s check out some of my family’s favorite times to enjoy milk, then read on for how you can help kids in developing nations get access to something that we often take for granted.
*This post is part of a campaign with Women Online for the Heifer International School Milk Feeding Program. All opinions are my own.
So, I just went searching to find out how much milk Americans drink every year, and I was kind of shocked by the answer. Apparently, we’re drinking a lot less than we were in the past. Just about 20 gallons each per year. I find that hard to believe because my household goes through at least 9 gallons a month, divided between chocolate and white milk. Maybe more if it’s a cereal-heavy month (I get in moods where I want cereal every night, then get sick of it for a while). My mom doesn’t really drink milk, except in cereal, so between my son, my husband and I, that’s close to 36 gallons per person per year.
My son has always been a picky eater, but milk is one thing he’s consistently loved since he was old enough to drink it. He chooses it over juice and soda every time. In fact, he never even drank a full soda until he was almost 12! It’s not that I banned him from it, he just had no desire to drink it. On its own, I only like chocolate milk. However, there are some foods that I simply cannot enjoy as much unless I have a tall glass of white milk to go along with it!
7 Things That Just Go Better With Milk!
- Cookies! Milk and cookies go together like…well, milk and cookies! I’m a dunker, and I love drinking my milk after the cookie bits float to the bottom.
- Chocolate cake. The creamy flavor of milk perfectly balances out the rich taste and texture of homemade chocolate cake, don’t you think? Same goes for cupcakes. Since cake doesn’t dunk well, I like to take a bit, then a swig of milk right away so they are both in my mouth at the same time. Same effect as dunking without losing your whole cake in your glass.
- Pancakes. For some reason, I cannot eat pancakes without drinking milk. I know some people prefer OJ with this breakfast food, but to me, milk complements the syrup and the fluffy yet somewhat dry texture of the pancakes better.
- Donuts. Again, like cookies, you could theoretically eat them alone, but donuts just beg to be dunked. When I was away in college for a semester, I lived on donuts and chocolate milk during late nights. Yeah, I know, not the healthiest way to survive, but I was 18 and away from the home for the first time. Eating bad was probably the best of the things I did wrong, and that’s all I’m going to say about that!
- Cereal! Seems kind of obvious, right? Except for the longest time, my son wouldn’t eat cereal and milk together. Funny, considering he was going through a gallon of milk and a box of cereal a week! Now, he does put milk on his cereal. It kind of makes me sad because it means he’s growing up.
- Lattes & Cappuccinos! Seriously, you can’t have a latte without milk. Well, I suppose you could use almond milk or coconut milk or some sort of alternative. If you’re a vegan or allergic to milk, that’s totally fine. For me, though, it has to be the real thing. For lattes, I use 1% milk. Cappuccinos, though, are the one time that I actually use whole milk. It just seems to froth better.
- School lunch. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine school lunch without a carton of milk! Sure, they were hard as coconuts to open, but they were like a liquid security blanket. From the milk tray that signaled snack time (followed by nap time!) in kindergarten to the huge ice bucket at the end of the lunch line in high school, they were the one consistent thing about going to school no matter where I went. Well, that and uncomfortable desks, but I have a much fonder memory of those milk cartons!
Milk goes great with so many things, from tasty treats to healthy meals. In fact, we’re so used to just grabbing a gallon from the fridge and pouring a tall glass that we kind of take it for granted. Maybe that’s why we’re drinking less of it than we used to. What if we didn’t have easy access to it, though? What if we couldn’t just pour a glass and dunk our cookies? Grab a bowl and fill it up with milk and cereal?
From Cow to Classroom: Saving the World One Milk Carton at ta Time
For way too many kids, milk is a luxury, not a basic refrigerator staple. These kids aren’t thinking about all of the yummy foods that just taste better with milk. They’re thinking about how ANYTHING would taste great with milk right about now. They live in a constant state of hunger. Have you ever tried to focus on learning new skills when your stomach was rumbling? I just had to go eat a banana because I was feeling a smidge hungry and it was getting hard to focus! Imagine trying to learn to read and write while your tummy tosses and turns, your blood sugar crashes, and your brain gets foggy from lack of nutrition.
Heifer International is working hard to help kids get the nutrition they need to focus better in school. As you may know, Heifer has been helping communities throughout Africa become more sustainable through dairy farming. They are firm believers of the “teach a man to fish” philosophy and worked diligently to help farmers increase their milk production.
Now, they’re taking their mission to new levels and bringing their work full circle. The Heifer School Milk Feeding Program, which launched in July, is a “cow to classroom” program that aims to provide 9,000 students throughout the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions with a packet of free fresh milk every school day.
One packet of milk contains at least a 25% of the daily calcium requirements for children, along with other vital nutrients. I’m betting you’re thinking “well, that’s not very much! What kind of impact can one packet of milk really make?” I get it. We live in a society where we can have a pantry, fridge and freezer overflowing with food and still say “there’s nothing in this house to eat!” Imagine opening that pantry and seeing nothing but a packet of dry noodles that you’ll have to make with water that may or may not be safe to drink and then share with your entire family. Don’t bother looking in your fridge. It doesn’t exist. That packet of fresh milk is sounding pretty good right now, isn’t it?
Providing milk to 9,000 kids is a huge undertaking, and Heifer International really needs a hand. No donation is too small. Even just $2 is enough to provide a child with enough milk for a week. Just $75 can provide one student with fresh milk for an entire school year. That comes out to just 40 cents a day, by the way. Your support not only gets milk into the hands of a child in need, it also helps positively impact communities by:
- Empowering students to focus on learning instead of hunger
- Creating a reliable market for producers
- Increasing farmers’ incomes and reducing poverty
Make a donation of any size! Just $75 can provide one student with fresh milk for a school year (remember, that’s just 40 cents a day).