Dairy makes sense — June is dairy month
Just because June is about to wind down and July is just around the corner does not mean that you should forget about how nutritious, delicious and valuable low-fat and fat-free dairy products are throughout the entire year. One glass of milk provides a significant amount of nutrients in an affordable and tasty way. For example, that one glass of milk averages about 25 cents and also gives you calcium, potassium, vitamin D, protein and at least five additional essential nutrients.
Calcium does more than build bones. Additionally, besides providing protection against osteoporosis, calcium may function to help reduce high blood pressure, reduce the risk of certain cancers and help with healthy weight maintenance.
Milk is the top source of essential nutrients. Milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D. These three key nutrients are typically lacking in consumers’ diets, according to public health officials.
Dairy products fit all meal plans. Whether you are following a traditional or vegetarian plan or even the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet/plan, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy products/day. Again, this shows the value of dairy.
What about lactose intolerance? Sufferers of lactose intolerance can still use milk as an important source of key nutrients. Lactose-free milk and other dairy products are readily available in stores, and it is real milk, just without the lactose.
Chocolate milk is a tasty option. Pour a glass of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk and enjoy the same nine essential nutrients as white milk. There is a smaller amount of sugar added as compared to other beverages.
“Three every day of dairy” is an easy way (from the Midwest Dairy Council) to remember that three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods per day will help most children and adults meet their needs for calcium and other essential nutrients. Here are just a few ways to work these three servings per day in:
• Make milk your mealtime beverage.
• Manage that chocolate craving with a cold glass of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk.
• Increase your vegetable intake by adding a small amount of reduced-fat cheese to broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or peas.
• Make your own morning mocha by mixing a teaspoon of instant coffee to a warm cup of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk.
• Build your own breakfast parfait with low-fat or fat-free yogurt, granola and your favorite fruits.
• Stock up on cheese sticks and yogurt cups for quick “grab and go” calcium-rich snacks.
• Prepare snack kabobs using cheese and fruit cubes on a long toothpick or wooden skewer.
• Try yogurt-sicles for a sweet treat. Freeze low-fat or fat-free yogurt in paper cups with a wooden stick.
Additional ideas and recipes can be found at www.midwestdairy.com.