Dairy: A Healthy, Powerful Habit

As the mother of a young child and a registered dietitian, I work hard to instill healthy behaviors in my child. This is particularly true when it comes to dietary intake. My son is almost 10 years old and is more active in extra-curricular activities and sports. I encourage his intake of well-balanced meals and snacks to meet his increased nutrient demands and aid in growth and maintenance.

05.01.2015 Jacinda Son Sports_reducedThis is important as our children are surrounded by foods that are high in unhealthy fats and simple sugar. Not to mention, they are heavily influenced by peers and what they see in the media. As adults, we must set the example for future generations when it comes to healthy behaviors.

Dairy foods are easily portable and can offer power-packed nutrition in appropriate portion sizes. Foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese offer high-quality protein that promote growth and help maintain lean muscle mass. These foods also offer vitamins and minerals like calcium and Vitamin D, which are needed for a child’s growing skeletal system.

Consumption of dairy foods during childhood can foster healthy habits that can be carried into adulthood. Research shows regular consumption of high-quality protein promotes good health and weight maintenance throughout life. Why not make the intake of dairy a habit for the entire family?

Making pre-packaged cheese and yogurt available instead of chips and cookies can encourage healthy intake among the entire family. Try something different and place your yogurt in the freezer. This will offer a bit of variety and children will find it quite interesting. Add a bit of fruit to the yogurt before freezing for an added kick.

Remember the power of dairy when planning meals and snacks and take care of your family inside and out.

Jacinda RoachJacinda Roach PhD, RD, LD has a special interest is weight loss. She currently works with patients in a bariatric and weight management clinic where she enjoys witnessing their transformations to better health.  She is also employed as an adjunct faculty member at several universities and teaches online courses in the area of nutrition.