June is dedicated to celebrate Dairy Month!
Dairy foods include fluid milk, yogurt, and cheese. These nine nutrients are essential meaning they have to be obtained through the foods we consume because our bodies cannot 'make' these nutrients on their own.
The nine essential nutrients in dairy foods include:
- Protein - Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and can be a source of energy.
- Calcium - Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
- Phosphorus - Phosphorus, along with calcium, helps strengthen bones.
- Vitamin A - Vitamin A supports vision and skin as well as helps maintain a strong immune system.
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium which supports bone health.
- Niacin - Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, supports enzymes in the body which are vital for the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.
- Pantothenic Acid - Pantothenic Acid, also known as vitamin B5, also supports metabolism.
- Riboflavin - Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, supports metabolism and converting food into energy.
- Vitamin B12 - Vitamin B12 supports our red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies.
Let's look at our favorite dairy foods:
Many are surprised to learn that the only difference between the different types of milk is the amount of fat. The milks all contain the same protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you are someone who enjoys meats that are not lean such as prime rib or bacon, opt for lower fat dairy foods including 1% or skim milk. If you are someone who chooses leaner meats most of the time, it can be okay to choose higher fat dairy foods such as 2% milk and full fat yogurt and cheese.
When selecting yogurt, look for those that are lower in added sugar and sweetened with fruit. Yogurt contains 1 gram of natural sugar per one ounce, so some sugar will always be in yogurt. A good rule of thumb is to choose yogurt with 9 or less grams of sugar per serving.
When choosing cheese, go for options that are 100% real cheese and made from milk. Processed and imitation cheeses are available, but can be oil based and lack the nutrition including protein that real cheese provides. This week Our Family 6-8 ounces 100% real shredded cheese is on sale for $1.59 per bag when you buy 5. Stock up now on this great deal for good nutrition.
Three servings of dairy each day is appropriate for majority of the population. If you cannot consume dairy due to intolerances or allergy, be sure to make sure you consume other nutrient dense foods that provide the same nutrients as dairy.
Here is a fun and easy summer breakfast, or even dessert, recipe from our friends at the Midwest Dairy Council.
S'mores Overnight Oats
Recipe adapted from: Midwest Dairy
- 1/2 cup Our Family chocolate milk
- 1/2 cup Our Family old-fashioned oats, dry/uncooked
- 1 teaspoon chia or flax seeds
- 12 Our Family miniature marshmallows, divided
- 1 tablespoon Our Family semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, divided
- 1/2 cup Our Family vanilla yogurt of choice
- 1/2 Our Family graham cracker square for garnish, optional
- In a -pint wide-mouth canning jar, or similar heat-proof container, add milk, oats, and chia seeds. Stir mixture until combined. Layer half of marshmallows and chocolate chips in jar on top of oat mixture. Spoon half of yogurt onto marshmallows and chocolate chips. Repeat with remaining marshmallows, chocolate chips, and yogurt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, eat chilled or place covered jar in microwave. Cook 1 minute 15 seconds on high; leave covered and allow to stand 1 minute. Break up graham cracker and sprinkle on top of oats; serve warm.
"This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.