What’s the Deal with Dairy?

The first way I am going to get my plate into shape is to include more dairy. The dairy would be the little circle or cute bottle pictured to the side of “the perfect plate”. This is strategically placed to elude that we should have a cup of milk with every meal we have…which actually would be a really nice convenient way to get your dairy in and not to mention 3 cups of milk equals nearly an entire days worth of recommended calcium. But does it always have to be milk? I think we should try to think a little outside the box, or carton! (HA! I’m so fuuunny!)

Other dairy sources would be yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, kefir, frozen yogurt, chocolatemilkeandicecream. I said that really quick so maybe you wouldn’t notice…

I want to really highlight yogurt today, because I cannot get enough of the stuff lately. The protein-calcium combination in your yogurt not only helps you focus, but it can also keep you strong by maintaining muscle mass. More nutrient packed than milk, yogurt has higher concentrations of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Also are you aware of the Yo-plait studies? I am sure you have seen the commercials, but there is evidence that diary as yogurt can support weight loss. Who doesn’t love that? And finally, the good bacterias we get from yogurts. We can kick up our immune systems and support our bowels lickity-split!

Some tips when choosing a yogurt: Choose plain flavors and sweeten it yourself with honey, agave, cocoa powder, peanut butter, or fresh fruit. Have you ever compared the sugar content labels on a plain yogurt compared to a flavored one? Sometimes the difference can be as great as 30 grams! Greek yogurt is all the rage right now and that’s because it is richer (aka more satiating), more nutrient dense, and depending on the brand can double the protein content! (I like Chobani or the Kroger brand). If you want to have a little bit of yogurt other than breakfast time, mix with sliced cucumbers, chopped mint, and a dash of lemon for a delicious veggie dip! AND not to mention skipping the chocolatemilkdandicecream and having some fresh berries over yogurt for dessert. Seriously, it’s just as delicious and will satisfy your sweet tooth!

One final note on including more dairy into your plate. It’s a little unfair we use the term dairy, when so many people are lactose intolerant. So if that’s you, think of including more calcium. Soy and almond milk actually have higher calcium contents than milk. Salmon, sardines, and greens also can fulfill your needs. So don’t skimp out and aim for 1000 mg/day.

Get those plates in shape!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Here it is folks, an entire month dedicated to nutrition! Did you even know March is National Nutrition month? I’m waiting for Martha Stewart to come up with crafts, meals, and decorations for this holiday, because it’s epic!

This years theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape!” Remember this? The FDA came up with the new plate method just last year, so this March to celebrate, the theme is based around adapting the plate method into every meal. Let’s get our plates together people! (I said that in a very Tina Fey from 30 Rock style).

Check out what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has to say about this month: National Nutrition Month Press Release

And some tips to help you get your plate in shape: Simple tips from Registered Dietitians

For those of you who hate following links (it’s ok, I am one of them), I will give you a run down. There are 4 areas of emphasis when it comes to your plate.

  1. Making half your plate fruits and veggies
  2. Incorporating more whole grains (1/2 of your choices ideally)
  3. Including a variety of lean proteins
  4. Adding more low-fat diary foods to your diet

I thought I would dedicate a blog each week to one of these categories, followed by a personal goal I am working on to shape up my plate. So you better stay tuned ya’ll!