Monday, October 26, 2015

Dairy Every Day

I am so pleased to introduce you to April Graff, my guest blogger. She is not only really smart when it comes to good food choices, but she is a fun person that I met at a conference in Kansas City, and again in Chicago. Today she shares the benefits and tips of including dairy in your diet.
Top 5 Ways to Add Dairy to Your Day

As a supermarket dietitian, I often get asked about the role of dairy in health. What benefits does dairy provide and how to pick the best products. Here’s my top 5 ways to add dairy to your day. 

  1. Yogurt. Sales of yogurt have sky-rocketed the past several years, mostly in Greek yogurt sales. Benefits: Calcium for strong bones and teeth, b-vitamins for energy, and protein (6-14 grams/serving) to keep you fuller longer. Greek yogurts will be higher in protein, but traditional yogurt still has about 6 grams per serving. 
Tip: Check the label for added sugars. Plain, unflavored varieties are best (add your own fruit), or look for those with the lowest sugar content (aim for 9-15 grams of sugar, the lower the better). *Note: yogurt naturally contains some sugar (lactose); it is the added sugars we want to minimize.

  2. Kefir. Often thought of as drinkable yogurt, this flavorful drink is a perfect addition to smoothies or cereal. Benefits: Kefir is a great source of probiotics (good bacteria) to help keep your gut healthy. Many kefir products contain 12 grams protein/serving for fullness.

Tip: Just like yogurt, kefir can have added sugars. Choose a product with lower sugar (or opt for plain). 

 3. Milk.Classic milk may not have the flair or marketing that other products have, but this powerhouse is packed with nutrition for just pennies per serving! Benefits: One serving (8 oz) has 8 grams of protein, 9 essential vitamins and minerals, and packs a hydrating punch.

Tip: For those with lactose intolerance, try a lactose-free milk for all the nutrition without the complications. 

  4. Cheese. Many people’s favorite dairy product, cheese often gets a bad rap. Benefits: Protein, fat (yes, fat is a benefit when eaten in moderation), and flavor make this #dairygood food a great choice. 
Tip:  The key to including cheese into a healthy diet is portion size. One ounce of cheese (think a piece of string cheese or a small handful of shredded) can be enough to take any meal and make it amazing (pasta, salads and eggs). 

  5. Ice Cream. Perhaps the most indulgent of dairy products, ice cream can fit into a balanced lifestyle. Benefits: Surprisingly, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus are in that decadent bowl of creamy goodness. 
Tip: Portion size is important. One serving of ice cream is just ½ cup, which can look lonely in a big bowl. Instead, opt for a coffee mug as a portion-appropriate dish. Plus, including a “treat” is all a part of a healthy lifestyle. So eat responsibly! 
    About April Graff, MS, RD, LD
          April is a supermarket dietitian working for Hy-Vee. She loves everything there is about food from growing to shopping, cooking and especially EATING! Her passion is to help people translate nutrition recommendations into everyday life – she blogs at She started her blog because it seems like every day someone asks her “What do YOU eat?” The reality is, she is a Midwestern girl. Balance is the key. Eating healthy is more than adding in one miracle food to cure all ailments. It is about having a healthy relationship with food. She has collaborated with brands and organizations like Midwest Dairy Council, Nestle and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food & Nutrition Magazine. April lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. You can find April on Twitter @AprilGraffRD, on Instagram at April Graff RD and on Facebook.


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