June Dairy Month is an annual celebration that began in 1937 and serves as a time to reflect on dairy foods and the industry that makes it possible. First created as a way to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer months, June Dairy Month's rich history continues today, with communities, companies and people from all over the country recognizing it in a variety of ways. In 2013, Midwest Dairy is celebrating the many health and taste benefits dairy foods deliver as well as the farmers who produce them.
Together, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver nine essential nutrients in a variety of tasty, affordable and convenient options. Three of the nutrients dairy foods provide - calcium, potassium and vitamin D - have been coined as "nutrients of concern" by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans because the population falls short on their intake. It's because of dairy's contribution to the diet that the Guidelines recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods every day for people ages 9 and older.
Milk is a natural source of high-quality protein for healthy muscles and calcium for strong bones (8 grams protein and about 300 mg calcium per 8 ounces). Other dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, pudding, ice milk and ice cream also provide a source of these and other important nutrients as well.
This information and more can be found on the Midwest Dairy Association's website, which is www.midwestdairy.com. It has many interesting and simple recipes for using milk and dairy products as well. The following one caught my eye because I absolutely love strawberries and raspberries and think they make the best smoothies ever. Here's a recipe for you to try using fresh berries (that will soon be in season) and dairy products for a tasty and nutritious summer treat.
Raspberry-Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, unsweetened
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, unsweetened
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1 cup ice (about 12 cubes)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately.
Makes four servings.
1 serving equals: 158 calories, 1 gm fat, 32 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fiber, 6 gm protein
Cheryl Rude is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. In addition to her column, you can also find nutrition tips and ideas on the blog she writes at www.averastorycenter.org.