Our Sports Nutrition Advisory Panel experts have shared some of their favorite ways that they fuel up with dairy during the holiday season. It’s no surprise that some of the same items kept rising to the top of their lists like white milk, chocolate milk, cheese, and yogurt – but what’s interesting is all the different ways our panelists created meals, snacks, and beverages with these staple dairy products that you probably have in your refrigerator right now. Enjoy these mouth-watering recipe ideas and tips to get you fueled up with dairy throughout the holiday season.

Some Tips from Our Panelists

Since vitamin D fortified cow’s milk is one of the few foods that contains vitamin D, I always encourage student athletes to include a cup with their meals throughout the day. Athletes that don’t like to drink milk straight from the cup can still get the same 13 essential nutrients it contains by using it in smoothies, oatmeal, or cold cereal. Remember, chocolate milk also has the same 13 essential nutrients as white milk.

-Heather Mangieri, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

Cheese makes everything taste better! Add shredded cheese to omelets, salads, baked potatoes, pasta, grits, and pierogies to add more flavor and a boost of nutrition.

-Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM, FAND

I like to use Greek yogurt with either granola or fresh fruit. Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt and the granola or fresh fruit add more carbohydrates for a balanced snack.
-Stephanie Coppola, MS, RDN, LDN

Who doesn’t love Parmesan cheese? Shaved Parmesan cheese tastes great and my family uses it on many of our salads and as a topping on lots of our vegetable, pasta, and meat dishes.
-Jake Sankal, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, RSCC*D

To add great flavor and nutrition, try a garlic yogurt sauce drizzled on salads, sandwiches, or on top of grilled chicken. It’s simple to whip this sauce up. Mix a cup of yogurt with a clove of crushed garlic (or garlic powder), then add some lemon juice, and fresh dill or mint, and a pinch of salt. It’s as simple as that!

-Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FASCM

Make your own Greek yogurt dip at home. In place of sour cream, use full-fat plain Greek yogurt and add some taco seasoning or French onion soup mix, whichever you prefer. Or you can make a Buffalo dip by combining a ranch seasoning packet with hot sauce. Serve it up with pita chips, tortilla chips, or raw veggies and enjoy! This provides a different spin on recovery eating with a savory twist.

-Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN

One of our favorite evening snacks in our house is the “30-second cheesecake hack.” Spread cream cheese on graham crackers and top with your favorite jelly (ours is mixed berry). Extra bonus if you have a big glass of milk to drink along with it.

-Matt Darnell, PhD, RD, CSSD, SCCC

This is a must try. A “Hot Peanut Butter” is a spin on a hot chocolate. Heat up 8-10 oz of milk, add 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, and some maple syrup to sweeten, as needed.  Stir and enjoy!

-Sarah Snyder, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, CSCS

It’s common for student-athletes get tired of shakes and smoothies, but when a shake is transformed into a smoothie bowl it is refueling, refreshing, and new. Here is a basic smoothie bowl formula: Blend 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 frozen banana (peel removed), and a splash of milk. Blend until icy and pour into a bowl. Top the bowl with granola, chia seeds, & fresh fruit.

-Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD

This PB&J Overnight Oats recipe is a quick, delicious way to start your morning fueled up! Filled with fiber and healthy fats, this breakfast will help keep student athletes feel fuller, longer. Mix 1/2 cup dry oats, 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, and a handful of sliced strawberries. Place in your fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning!

-Nici Mense, MS, RD

Have you seen those pre-made cheese snack packs at the grocery store? Save some money and help the environment by making your own at home. Grab a divided reusable container. Start by adding cubed cheese, like cheddar or Monterey Jack, in one compartment and then add some nuts, like cashews, almonds, or pistachios, and dried fruit in the other compartments. You can even make this a little sweet by adding some yogurt-covered raisins! The protein from the cheese and the nuts will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied in between meals.

-Jessica Garay, Ph.D., RDN, CSCS, FAND

During the colder months, I enjoy the combination of hot chocolate made with milk along with a PB&J sandwich for lunch.

-Sue James, MS, RD, LDN

Some of my favorite ways to fuel up with dairy are by enjoying a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk in the morning or some easy to make overnight oats. Smoothies are definitely one my favorites because you can customize them so many different ways. The options are endless!

-Angie Dye, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

Some of my favorite ways to fuel up with dairy on-the-go include string cheese, Greek yogurt cups, and a glass of cold chocolate milk to recovery after my runs.

-Stevie Lyn Smith, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDN