National Nutrition Month: Fuel up with dairy

SDSU Extension

BROOKINGS — During National Nutrition Month, SDSU Extension, together with the Midwest Dairy Council, encourage South Dakotans to make sure they are consuming enough dairy for a healthy diet.

“When it comes to food and nutrition, one thing most health professionals agree on is we could all benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables. What might not be as well know is the fact that most Americans also fall below their recommended daily servings of dairy foods,” said Whitney (Jerman) Blindert, a dietitian with Midwest Dairy Council.

Blindert reminds folks that the federal Dietary Guidelines recommend three servings of dairy each day. Blindert said to think of one serving as 8 ounces of milk or yogurt or 1 ounce of cheese.

“Most people get only an average of 1.8 servings per day, which could mean we are missing out on important nutrients dairy foods provide,” she said.

As a registered dietitian in South Dakota, Blindert said she is proud to work on behalf of dairy farmers.

“I’m passionate about combining dairy foods with fruits and vegetables, which helps make healthy eating a bit easier and allows us to Go Further with Food,” she said, quoting the slogan the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is promoting this March as part of National Nutrition Month.

Below Blindert outlines tips for pairing dairy with other healthy foods. Find recipes at

• Pair cheese cubes with your favorite fruits of vegetables. Try our Rainbow Fruit & Cheese Kabobs.

• Dip berries or grapes in yogurt for a tasty, sweet treat.

• Whip up a dairy-based smoothie in a blender for an on-the-go snack. Add whatever fruits and vegetables you like, or perhaps those nearing the end of their shelf life.

• Make a yogurt-based dip for fresh vegetables. Try our Green Pea and Parmesan Dip. Feel free to skip the colander step for ease.

• Boost nutrition and flavor by adding shredded cheese to vegetables and/or salads.

• Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables, cheese and a whole-wheat tortilla.

• Build a breakfast parfait with your favorite yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal.

• Pair a bottle of milk, yogurt tube or cheese stick with a piece of fruit for easy snacking on the go.

• Add cottage cheese to fruits like peaches or pears-or try tomatoes for a savory twist.

• Use plain Greek yogurt as a base for homemade dressings for your salad.

• Use cheese to jazz up an egg and veggie dish. Try our Cheddar and Mushroom Breakfast Squares.

• Pile your pizza with vegetables. Try broccoli, spinach, green pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini.

• Top a baked potato with broccoli and cheese, or plain Greek yogurt.

For more information on dairy nutrition, visit the Midwest Dairy Association website at