Each month, the North Country Region of Eat Smart NY chooses a locally-grown fruit, vegetable or other food group to feature as its “Harvest of the Month” — providing nutritional information about that ingredient, as well as tips for purchasing or preparing it. The Harvest of the Month for April 2018 is dairy!
Why Dairy Is So Great
Dairy products are full of bone-building calcium, helping to keep your bones and teeth strong. Calcium is especially important when you are growing and bone mass is being built.
Foods in the dairy group also provide other nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, and protein.
How much do you need? Diets that provide 3 cups or the equivalent of dairy products per day can improve bone mass. In general, 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soy milk; 1½ ounces of natural cheese; or 2 ounces of processed cheese are considered to be 1 cup from the dairy food group.
Dairy products are perishable items, so they should be refrigerated at 40℉ or lower to keep harmful bacteria from growing.
Store cheese in a refrigerator drawer and milk on an interior shelf, not the door, to avoid them getting too warm. Milk can also be frozen for up to 6 months, but it will taste best if used sooner.
Healthy Serving Ideas
Try adding Greek yogurt and fresh fruit to oatmeal for a calcium and protein boost in the morning. Or, sprinkle a cheese blend (like jack, cheddar, Mexican, etc.) on top of stuffed sweet potatoes with black bean and corn salsa!
You can also sprinkle low-fat cottage cheese and granola on top of fresh berries and honey for a sweet, tasty treat.
Try out this recipe to make a “Super Sundae” for your family!
1. Divide yogurt between 2 clear glasses or dishes.
2. Spoon half of the peaches and blueberries on top of the yogurt.
3. Sprinkle each sundae with granola. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Notes: Substitute any fruit you have on hand; try sliced bananas, canned mandarin oranges, or grapes cut in half. Try different flavors of yogurt, like lemon or strawberry.