June is national dairy month

This is a great time for families to take a closer look at their daily intake of dairy foods that help grow and maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that seven out of 10 boys and nine out of 10 girls don’t get the calcium they need?  Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt provide the body with the calcium needed to grow and maintain strong bones, teeth, muscles and nerves. 

Not eating enough calcium should be a concern for the entire family.  If you are not eating the recommended daily amount of dairy foods as the parent, chances are your children are not getting enough either, which puts them at risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.  June is national dairy month – now is great time to take a closer look at your child’s daily intake of dairy foods to determine whether or not he or she is getting the recommended daily servings. 

Children and teens should get at least three servings of milk foods per day.  Milk and dairy foods include fat-free or low-fat (one percent) milk, yogurt and cheese and are the best way to get calcium and other nutrients like vitamin D and potassium.   

Some vegetables contain calcium, but larger portions are required to get the amount needed.  There are foods that have added calcium (referred to as calcium fortified), but they don’t have the other good vitamins and minerals found in dairy.

Here are some calcium pointers to help get more dairy foods into your family’s diet:

  • Drink milk with every meal.
  • Substitute milk for water in soups, hot cereals, sauces, mashed potatoes, rice, pancakes and scrambled eggs.
  • Add low fat cheese to soups, sandwiches, salads and casseroles.
  • Top-cooked veggies like a baked potato or broccoli with cheese, yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Enjoy yogurt with meals or replace desserts with a yogurt parfait topped with your favorite fresh fruits and granola.
  • Snack on string cheese.

For more information about healthy eating and the benefits of dairy foods, check out these websites:

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