More than 80% of the United States’ population fails to meet the daily recommended intake for dairy products, according to the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In fact, an age-related decline in dairy intake appears to begin in adolescence with almost 90% of adolescent girls and 70% of adolescent boys missing out on the recommended three cups of milk per day requirement. The decline continues at lower levels among adults resulting in the loss of valuable nutrients. To help combat this public health concern and in observance of National Nutrition Month, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of got milk?, has partnered with Doctor of Public Health and Registered Dietitian Wendy Bazilian to inform families about the importance of making healthy food choices as well as provide them with easy tips to maintain a well balanced diet.
“Kids are overwhelmed with unhealthy food and beverage choices, which is why parents need support in helping them choose nutrient-rich superfoods, like milk,” says Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. “Milk is a natural food that provides numerous health benefits with research supporting lower risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Plus it can be easily incorporated into any meal, whether breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks, adding a significant increase in intake for shortfall nutrients including calcium, vitamin D and potassium.”
Dr. Bazilian has created five easy tips parents can follow for optimal health:
- Reduce saturated fat and empty calories: Opt out of fatty foods and cut out those empty calories. Instead of reaching for a donut and coffee try some whole grain cereal with real milk. The carbs and dairy will keep you satiated longer and help you avoid the sugar and caffeine crash.
- Read labels: Before purchasing foods at your local grocery store look at “Nutrition Facts” label and the “Ingredient List” and compare brands based on nutrition.
- Add superfoods to all meal occasions: In addition to milk, other superfoods include kale, quinoa, beans, spinach, blueberries, walnuts and red bell peppers, to name a few. Adding some of these to all your meal occasions is sure to add flavor and boost your nutrition.
- Make smart swaps: Gradual replacements add up. For example, a glass of milk or a smoothie instead of a soda or sports drink reduces sugars and empty calories and replaces them with key nutrients.
- Incorporate exercise: In addition to eating right, it’s important to add a healthy exercise regimen to your life. Just 30 minutes three times a week can make a big difference in your healthy lifestyle.
“The statistics show kids are not consuming the recommended daily requirement of milk, and as a public health expert, Dr. Bazilian knows firsthand the long-term implications an unhealthy diet can have on a young person,” said Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. “We’re using National Nutrition Month as the opportunity to share important health information with parents as well as delicious recipes that are easy to make and that kids will love.”
This year Californians ages 13 years and older can participate in got milk?’s National Nutrition Month Challenge by posting pictures of their original healthy, low calorie, low fat or nonfat milk recipe depicting a breakfast, lunch or dinner either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag the image using the hashtag #NutritionWithMilk. At the end of contest, ten winners will be selected from the photos to have his/her cookbook photo and recipe featured in the online got milk? Healthy Recipes Cookbook, which will be featured on www.gotmilk.com and got milk? social media platforms.