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New Study Suggests This Breakfast Staple Could Help Kids Start the Day off Right

bunny oatmeal breakfast

Eating a nutritious breakfast helps kids start their day off right, and new research reminds us why serving real dairy milk is so important for the first meal of the day. As little as 7 grams of milk protein at breakfast could help set kids up with building blocks they need to grow after a good night’s sleep, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition.

It’s no secret that kids need nutritious foods to fuel their constantly growing bodies, but there’s a period of time when they’re not getting these nutrients – during sleep. Of course kids need sleep – and plenty of it - but as they slumber, they’re using up their body’s energy stores, and if they don’t refuel in the morning it could potentially impact their ability to grow. That’s why a proper breakfast is so important, to ensure kids make up for this overnight fast.

In this new study, University of Toronto researchers gave 28 boys and girls ages 7-11 a breakfast of 170 calories that included 0, 7, 14 or 21 grams of milk protein. While more protein at breakfast was more beneficial, researchers found as little as 7 grams was enough to promote positive effects over the next nine hours.

Serving an 8-ounce glass of milk, which has 8 grams of high-quality protein, each day at breakfast is an easy way to get kids protein they need to support optimal growth and development. In fact, a previous study in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years (all the way through late teens/early twenties) is associated with greater height in the teen years, while research in Osteoporosis International has linked regularly skipping milk to reduced height.[1],[2]

Milk is also an easy way to get kids B vitamins to convert food to energy, vitamin A to support a healthy immune system, and phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D to help build strong bones. That’s why experts recommend including milk in kids’ diets. And, with a taste they love, it’s a simple, wholesome and affordable addition to any morning meal.

To kick start your child’s morning, serve a protein-packed breakfast, like this adorable bunny oatmeal, to give them nutrients they need to grow up strong. Not only will it bring a smile to your child’s face, it also gives them 18 grams of high-quality protein when served with a glass of lowfat milk.

For more information and kid-friendly recipe ideas, visit

Bunny Oatmeal

(1 serving)

Recipe courtesy of MilkPEP


1/3 cup instant oats

3/4 cup fat free milk

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2/3 of a small banana

2 fresh blueberries

1/2 of a small strawberry

Optional— chocolate syrup

Pair each serving with: 8-ounce glass of milk


In a microwave safe bowl stir together oats, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute and stir.

Cut banana in half crosswise. Cut 1 1/8-inch thick coin slices from the flat end of each banana half. Place those banana slices in the upper third of your oatmeal bowl, side by side, to make the eyes. Top with one blueberry on each banana slice.

Place the remaining banana halves at the top of the bowl, hanging out, to create the ears.

Place strawberry in the middle of the bowl to make the nose, and then drizzle chocolate if desired to make a mouth and whiskers.

Serve with an 8-ounce glass of milk.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.

[1] Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Relationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.

[2] Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.

Source: MilkPEP

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