Dairy foods, including milk, yogurt and cheese, supply key nutrients in the U. S. diet that are important for health. Dairy naturally provides nine essential nutrients to help build stronger bones and better bodies. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products every day for Americans nine years and older, two and a half servings for children four to eight years old, and two servings for children ages two to three years. However, most adults and children are not meeting the recommended servings for dairy and may be missing out on important health benefits.
Consuming dairy products provides many health benefits. Dairy contributes to good bone health, especially for children and teens. In addition, dairy may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease. Studies show that dairy foods can improve overall diet quality by providing a unique package of nutrients. Milk is the number one source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D; all nutrients in which many American diets are lacking.
This June celebrate National Dairy Month by aiming for three daily servings of dairy. Make dairy a staple at every meal by serving a glass of ice cold milk with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Using shredded or sliced cheese to top soups, sandwiches and salads will boost flavor and nutrition. Consider enjoying yogurt for a snack or using it in dips for fruits or vegetables. Don't forget dessert--make chocolate or vanilla pudding with milk for a sweet ending. Or try mixing flavored yogurt and crushed fresh fruit, freeze in Popsicle molds for a fun way to cool down when summer heat kicks up.
Celebrate June Dairy Month all summer long with these easy dairy recipes from St. Louis District Dairy Council.
Gazpacho with Cilantro Yogurt Topping
2 cups fat free plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups tomato or eight-vegetable juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Stir together 1 cup of yogurt and cilantro; set aside. Cut 2 tomatoes, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 cucumber, and 1/2 onion into 1-inch pieces. Place in food processor. Cover and process until well chopped; add remaining ingredients and remaining 1 cup yogurt. Cover and process until well blended. Makes 4 servings.
Dice remaining tomato, bell pepper, cucumber and onion; stir into soup. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top each serving with a dollop of cilantro yogurt.
Fat: 0.5 g
Protein: 12 g
Calcium: 25% Daily Value
Monterey Jack Pita Pizza
1 (6-inch) whole wheat pita bread
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
2 (1/8-inch thick) slices cooked deli chicken (1 ounce each), cut into strips
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple or canned pineapple tidbits in its own juice, drained
3 teaspoons pizza or pasta sauce
2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Split pita into 2 rounds by placing pita flat on work surface and carefully cutting around the edge. Separate the 2 rounds and place, cut side up, on a work surface. Spread each pita round with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pizza sauce. Top each pita with half of the cheese, chicken, pineapple, onion and parsley, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are browned. Makes 4 servings.
Fat: 7 g
Protein: 20 g
Calcium: 25% Daily Value