National Dairy Month was originally established in 1938 for milk and grocery promotion. Now, National Dairy Month serves to remind us all of the health benefits that dairy has to offer.
Including low-fat or non-fat dairy products in your diets can provide essential nutrients for your body such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium.
Calcium is an important mineral that helps build strong bones and teeth during childhood and adolescence. It also helps to maintain bone strength as you get older. Dairy is the primary source of calcium in the American diet.
Potassium helps support healthy blood pressure. Many people don’t get enough potassium in their diets. Adding dairy foods like milk and yogurt can help increase the amount of potassium you get in your diet.
Vitamin D works in the body to support proper levels of calcium and phosphorus. These processes help build and maintain strong bones. Milk and soy milk are often fortified with Vitamin D and can help you get your daily requirement of this vitamin. You can also get Vitamin D in some fish such as salmon, and in other food products that are fortified with Vitamin D. Check the nutrition label to be sure.
Not only is dairy rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also high in protein. Milk, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are especially high in protein and can be a great addition to your diet to help you get enough protein.
When choosing dairy products, it’s important to choose low-fat or non-fat versions to limit the amount of saturated fat in the diet. Diets high in saturated fat increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.
The amount of dairy foods you need each day depends on your age and can vary between 1 ½ to 2 cups for toddlers, 2 ½ cups for children under 10 and 3 cups for older children through adults.
Try this recipe idea to include more dairy in your diet:
Greek Yogurt Parfait
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp all natural nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter)
½ cup fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, banana, raspberries)
2 tbsp chopped nuts, seeds, or granola of your choice
- In the bottom of a mason jar or bowl, layer half of the yogurt, then half of the nut butter, and finally half of the fruit. Repeat this layering again with remaining yogurt, nut butter, and fruit.
- Top parfait with another spoonful of yogurt and nuts, seeds, or granola.