June marks the beginning of summer. It’s also National Dairy Month, which means it is a great time to start some healthy summer habits. Dairy foods like milk have nutrients to help manage your weight and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and some cancers. Protein in dairy foods helps build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin. These are just a few of the good reasons to enjoy dairy foods all year long.
Older adults need extra vitamin D and calcium to help build strong and healthy bones. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat and fat-free dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt, along with cereals and dark green leafy vegetables. Older adults need three servings of calcium-rich foods and beverages and sources of vitamin D every day. If you take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, pick one with vitamin D.
What counts as a cup in the dairy food group?
One cup of milk, yogurt, or calcium-fortified soymilk, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or two ounces of processed cheese are considered one cup from the dairy food group. When choosing dairy, fat-free and low-fat products are good options.
Here are some easy tips for adding more servings of dairy foods to your diet. Aim for three servings a day to meet your nutritional needs.
- Drink an eight-ounce glass of fat-free or low-fat milk with your meal.
- Make oatmeal with milk instead of water.
- Eat one cup of low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit for breakfast.
- Top a baked potato with steamed broccoli and 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
- Make a breakfast shake with milk and fruit.
If you are lactose intolerant, the best way to get the health benefits of dairy products is to choose lactose-free foods. These foods include cheese, yogurt, lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soymilk. You can also take the enzyme lactase before consuming milk.
Drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk. If you drink whole milk now, slowly switch to lower-fat milk and milk products. This will cut saturated fat and calories, but not calcium and other nutrients.
To learn more about dairy products, visit newenglanddairycouncil.org/5-ways-to-celebrate-june-dairy-month.
Try this healthy shake which provides a good source of calcium.
Banana Breakfast Shake
Servings: Makes 2 servings, 6 ounces of milk per serving
1 1/2 cups fat free or low-fat milk
1 peeled and sliced medium banana, frozen
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Cinnamon for garnish (optional)
In a blender, combine all ingredients, except cinnamon.
Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds.
Pour into glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired.