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Find Your Dairy Match: Tips to Pair Families with High-Quality Protein

by | Feb 10, 2016 | Dairy Foods, Nutrition | 0 comments

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, so what better time to “match” families to foods they love – like Greek yogurt and healthy smoothies – and will help them stick to a healthy eating plan packed with high-quality protein.

Why protein? Because it has a lot to offer! Protein is filling. A protein-packed snack or meal leads to a greater likelihood of feeling satisfied and less likelihood of overeating. This is key to weight management. Protein also aids in muscle maintenance.

But, when it comes to healthy eating, protein is only part of the healthy lifestyle equation. The other part is being physically active. Families are encouraged to make exercise a regular part of their routine. Exercise with each other to have more fun. My son, Topher, and I find races to train for together. We know that protein will help us get moving and stay moving so we can run our best.

In terms of protein quality, dairy foods provide the highest source. This means the protein in dairy contains all essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein – that the body can’t make on its own. Many proteins found in other foods can’t “match” this claim.

Experts recommend spacing protein intake throughout the day to maximize benefits. Since Americans have a tendency to overeat protein at dinner time and under eat it at breakfast, a smart goal for families is to eat 25-30 grams of protein before noon.

Here are some protein-packed tips to help families find their dairy “match” made in heaven:

  • Combine milk or yogurt with cereal and fruit. To increase the protein, go for Greek yogurt; it can pack up to twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt.
  • Prepare an omelet or egg muffin made with veggies and cheese.
  • Whip up a smoothie, such as this chocolate berry smoothie. It’s pretty in pink and would be a perfect treat for your sweetie.
  • Use Greek yogurt in dips; it adds creaminess while cutting fat and calories. In our house, we’re big fans of doing this with guacamole.
  • Make fruit and cheese kabobs. (Note: Topher would like me to give these an extra-special “kid-approved” endorsement.)
  • Toss a salad with greens, cheese and other flavorful add-ins. Be creative. Try spinach with red onion, apple slices, blue cheese and a light lemony mustard vinaigrette.
  • Roll up a wrap with grilled veggies like zucchini and peppers, and add sliced cheese like mozzarella.
  • Build a pizza. The above ingredients are also delicious on a crust.
  • Enjoy chili topped with cheese. This recipe may become your new favorite.

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Stephanie Cundith
Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD
Nutrition Spokesperson and Communications Manager at Midwest Dairy Council

As a registered dietitian and nutrition spokesperson for Midwest Dairy Council, I work on behalf of dairy farmers to communicate the benefits of dairy nutrition. In addition to Dairy Makes Sense, I am a blogger for The Dairy Report.
 
I write from the perspective of a working mom who recognizes the challenges families face when sorting out nutrition information and putting healthy foods on the table. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt - all proven to play a critical role in overall health and development – take center stage in my family’s meal plan. As a runner who always is training for the next big race, I also write from the perspective of an athlete. I understand the important role nutrition plays in fueling an active lifestyle and believe that dairy helps me perform at my best.
 
My education background may be considered non-traditional in the field of dietetics. I have an undergraduate degree in journalism. After graduation I decided to go back to school to study nutrition and become a dietitian. I joined the Midwest Dairy staff eight years ago. Before that, I worked as a hospital dietitian and a weight management coach.
 
I'm originally from Pennsylvania, but Kansas has been my home now for more than ten years. Favorite pastimes include traveling east to visit family, cooking, and doing anything outside - especially distance running or chasing after my nine year-old son.
 
Let’s talk more about dairy nutrition, health and fitness! Follow me on Twitter @scundithRD.

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