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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Finish Your Milk

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Finish Your Milk.When I was growing up (in the dairy state of Wisconsin), my mother never used to let me leave the table unless I finished my entire glass of milk at meals. “It’ll help you grow and give you strong bones,” she’d say. Aren’t moms always right?  She sure was about the nutritional benefits of milk.

If this same situation seems familiar to you at home when dealing with your kids and teenagers at meals, you may want to know that not only does dairy build strong bones but new research has also shown that eating plenty of dairy products as a teenager may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes during adulthood.

Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between dairy food consumption during adolescence and the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in 37,000 women. Women who consumed the highest amounts of dairy foods as teens and in middle age had a 43 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consistently had a low dietary intake.

More and more evidence is emerging about the benefits and positive role dairy plays in nutrition, health, and preventing chronic diseases. Encourage your kids to drink milk with meals, and to recover after exercise with chocolate milk. They will be meeting their calcium requirements for the day by simply getting 3 servings of dairy. Trust me, they will thank you later.

Here are six ways to get some added dairy into their daily diets (maybe without them even knowing it!)

  • Add milk to cereal, oatmeal, hot chocolate, or pancake mix.
  • Make yogurt, fruit, and granola parfaits for breakfast or dessert.
  • Make smoothies with milk, yogurt and their favorite fruits.
  • Have a make-your-own-pizza night using reduced fat cheese.
  • Add Greek yogurt to muffins, banana bread, or cake recipes to make them extra moist.
  • Add cheese to sandwiches or sprinkle on top of pasta

Are you and your kids getting at least three servings of milk per day?

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Protein , Sports Nutrition

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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