Every year, Dairy Farmers of Canada organizes a conference for health professionals. As a professional dietitian, I’ve had the chance to attend, which helps me stay abreast of recent developments. Last November, I attended several conferences, and one in particular caught my attention. It focused on the contribution of dairy products to the supply of nutrients and overall health, and was presented by Dr. Theresa Nicklas, professor of pediatrics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Did you know that many people are consuming more and more calories but not getting enough nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals? We are eating more, but our bodies are still “undernourished” because they aren’t getting the nutrients they need. This problem stems in part from the fact that we often hear about the food we shouldn’t eat, instead of the nutritious food we should eat!
Dairy products are packed with nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies. Among other nutrients, they contain calcium and vitamin D, which contribute to healthy bones and teeth. Potassium makes fewer headlines, but it helps with the proper functioning of muscles and nerves. In addition to their benefits to your overall health, dairy products appear to help children, adolescents and adults maintain a healthy weight. Daily consumption of three servings of dairy products in adults who follow a restricted-calorie diet may help weight loss.
In light of this information, you might be looking for ways to increase your consumption of dairy products. Here are four of my favourites:
- Start the day with a bowl of high fibre cereal and milk.
- Choose Greek yogurt when snacking.
- Eat a piece of cheese with fruit for a great snack.
- Make a smoothie with fresh fruits, Greek yogurt and juice for the morning rush (later, complete your breakfast with a homemade muffin).