Alexandra Economy: Dairy products can be healthy addition to your menus

2014-06-20T05:10:00Z Alexandra Economy: Dairy products can be healthy addition to your menusAlexandra Economy For the Love of Food and Health Winona Daily News

Did you know that Minnesota is home to 3,354 dairy farms — and many of them right here in Winona County — and produces 1.06 billion gallons of milk annually? That’s a lot of milk, and a great reason for us to celebrate June as National Dairy Month.

With so many food choices available on the grocery shelves, it can be difficult to decide what’s best for your family and how to stay within budget.

Fortunately, milk is a bargain at about 25 cents per 8-ounce glass when you consider the nine essential nutrients it provides — protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and more.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three servings of low-fat dairy for those 9 or older. Here are some simple and delicious ideas to incorporating milk, cheese and yogurt into your diet.

  • Stir up a bowl of oatmeal by using milk instead of water.
  • Add milk to your morning coffee instead of nondairy creamers.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of milk for each egg when preparing scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • When preparing canned condensed soups or packed soups, use milk instead of water for a creamier, richer soup.
  • When preparing instant mashed potatoes, substitute milk for the water.
  • Enjoy a milkshake by blending fat-free milk, your favorite fruit blends and a few ice cubes. For extra thickness and super-satisfying protein, add Greek yogurt.
  • For any recipe that calls for sour cream, substitute a nonfat plain Greek yogurt.
  • Prepare fruit and cheese kabobs for a fun, healthy and delicious snack.
  • If you or a loved one is lactose intolerant, no worries. Getting three daily servings of dairy is achievable. Lactose intolerance isn’t the same as a milk allergy. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. People with lactose intolerance aren’t able to fully digest the milk sugar, and typically will experience gastrointestinal disturbances when they consume too much lactose.

Even if you are lactose-intolerant, there is no need to eliminate dairy from your diet. Products such as lactose-free milk and natural cheeses such as Colby, cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss are very low in lactose.

Milk mixed in foods such as smoothies, soups and sauces — or paired with meals — allows our body more time to digest lactose, and yogurt contains live and active probiotic cultures that aids in the digestion of lactose.

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Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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