Consuming three daily servings of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt –is an easy way for families to get a powerful punch of nutrients to help build stronger bones and healthy bodies and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, a growing body of research suggests that enjoying three servings of dairy foods a day as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet may help maintain a healthy weight. For a lifetime of better bone health, try these tips:
Make Breakfast Matter
Start the day off right by including low-fat or fat-free dairy in the first meal of the day:
- Blend low-fat strawberry milk with fresh banana slices for a morning fruit splash.
- Sprinkle reduced-fat Cheddar cheese on scrambled eggs.
- Layer granola, fresh fruit and low-fat or fat-free raspberry or vanilla yogurt for a yummy breakfast parfait.
Help ensure kids get their 3 servings of dairy by offering healthy, grab-and-go low-fat and fat-free dairy foods at school, at home and on the road:
- Divide large bags of mini pretzels, popcorn, nuts or trail mix into single-serve portions in small plastic, resealable bags and add three to four dice-sized reduced-fat Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese cubes –perfect for lunch bags or mess-free snacking in the car.
- Let kids take a dip and get a serving of dairy by dunking cut up vegetables in melted reduced-fat cheese or fruit slices in low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
- Get a grip on nutrition with low-fat single-serve milk in plastic bottles and different flavors –great for school and the carpool. Kids consume more milk when it is served cold in plastic bottles and offered in a variety of flavors.
Family Dinners with Dairy
Tired of planning meals to fit everyone’s tastes and schedules? Here are some easy ways to please the whole family:
- Sprinkle dinnertime favorites, like soup or a baked potato, with your favorite reduced-fat shredded cheese for added flavor.
- Add low-fat or fat-free milk to marinara for a creamy red sauce –it’s a sure-to-please way to make pasta better and more nutritious.
- For a sweet ending to a long day, top angel food cake with low-fat or fat-free cherry or vanilla yogurt.
Role Model Moms
Studies show that when parents drink more milk, their children do too. In other words, modeling healthy behaviors really does work!
- Kids aren’t the only ones who need an afternoon snack. Encourage everyone to take a “3 p.m. break” every day to tally daily dairy servings. If falling short, it’s a good time to work in another one. Add notes to lunches or post a dairy tracker on the fridge to remind the family.
- Set an example by making a habit of having a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk with dinner. Give your family options with low-fat chocolate or strawberry milk.
- When grocery shopping with your kids, together select items for school and work. For instance, low-fat drinkable yogurt in a variety of flavors provides a healthy pick-me-up at the office or after school.
For more information, visit www.nationaldairycouncil.org.
Take Steps Now to Prevent Osteoporosis
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis states that, by 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will be at increased risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass if no immediate steps are taken. Adults and children need to develop lifestyle habits for healthy bones because the bone mass built during childhood and adolescence helps determine lifetime risk of fractures and osteoporosis
Three servings a day of dairy play an important role in building bones and helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis:
- The U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis recognizes the role of nutrients in dairy foods (including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin D) that work together to help protect bones.
- According to a recent American Academy of Pediatrics Report Lactose Intolerance in Infants, Children and Adolescents, eating nutrient-rich foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt during childhood and adolescence may help reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.
- The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage the consumption of milk or equivalent milk products for better bone health, especially during childhood.