As a registered dietitian, I tend to think of food as the one thing I can control when it feels like an illness is overtaking our household. Offering nutrient-rich beverages alongside water throughout the day provides another form of hydration and a convenient way to get in nutrients when appetites are low. Here are some milk-based drinks to consider when your household is feeling under the weather:
- Smoothies can pack a lot of nutrition in an easy-to-consume format. And when you use real milk as the liquid, you provide vitamin A, zinc, selenium, protein, and vitamin D—nutrients that support healthy immune function. Include fruit like strawberries or oranges for a source of vitamin C which also plays a role in immune function. If you’re looking to increase the calories, adding nut butter can help and incorporating Greek yogurt can be a way to provide live active cultures and additional protein.
- Hot tea is a common tool for soothing sore throats and comforting chilled bodies. But have you tried Hot Milk Tea? Milk teas can be a tasty way to sneak in nutrition from milk when appetite is low. You can make the milk base ahead of time and warm it up as needed! This recipe is best for adults due to the caffeine in the tea.
- Nature’s wellness drink—milk. Offering milk with meals, lactose-free or standard, provides an option off the dinner plate for children to get high-quality nutrition. For example, milk is a leading food source of vitamin D in the diet for Americans over the age of 2 – a key nutrient in supporting healthy immune systems.
Whether it’s a smoothie or a glass of milk, nutrient-rich beverages during times of illness are a convenient way to consume important nutrients for wellness.