June is not only National Dairy Month, but the birthday of MyPlate. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2-3 servings a day of low fat dairy products for their nutrient density, a good source of calcium, Vitamin D, protein and potassium. The National Dairy Council’s Wellness Impact Report recently showed how important breakfast and physical activity are for better academic performance for students. The findings showed only 38% of students are eating breakfast and 25% are active for the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Incorporating dairy can be a quick and easy way of fueling students so they can perform at their maximum potential. The NDC has resources for health professionals for educating consumers on the benefits of dairy. You can also find great recipes and meal ideas on their Pinterest board.
Many supermarkets are celebrating Dairy Month with nutrition education promotions. See what some retail dietitians are doing to provide consumers with nutrition information and healthy dairy ideas.
Jen Haugen, dietitian with Hy-Vee, has done promotions on a local television stations showing healthier dairy swaps for recipes. See her here on Go Greek with Simple Substitutions or read more in her local newspaper article. Jen is also doing an in-store dairy event with local farmers. She has won several awards for her education on dairy.
Weis Markets’ corporate dietitian, Karen Buch, is highlighting the benefits of dairy in a healthy diet through in-store messaging and Public Service Announcements in conjunction with PBS radio. Weis is also doing in-store sampling events and providing social media outreach through Facebook and Twitter. They even created their own “cow character” for their Dairy Month recipe contest. You can also stock up on your favorite dairy products with their weekly sales on dairy products.
Leah McGrath, RD, corporate dietitian for Ingles, is doing facebook promotions, interacting with customers and providing recipe and product ideas on healthy ways to incorporate dairy.
If you are a dietitian or health professional who need ideas to showcase low fat dairy, try making your own DIY Dairy Bar. This bar is segmented into Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese. I even provide free printables for you so you don’t have that much work to do. I encourage you to make your food fun and educational by layering your food displays with creative nutrition messaging.
Good visuals make it easy for people to understand the nutrients in milk. I used empty, clean milk containers and spraypainted them with $5 chalkboard paint. I used Washi craft tape in a chevron pattern that you can find at craft stores for a minimal cost. I then wrote on them with a piece of chalk. With 4 inexpensive items, I created an eyecatching display that drives my nutrition message home.
These milk shots are so easy and cute to use as a display, on TV, or at a party. Believe it or not, those are $.77 votive candle holders. I didn’t like the shot glasses I found, and these were the perfect size. I placed the Washi tape I used on the milk cartons around the middle and glued the “milk shot” label to the tape. I made some homemade almond oatmeal cookies to go on top. Again, this is simple and inexpensive to do.
Smoothies are so very popular and so easy to demo. This smoothie recipe is courtesy of Jen Haugen, RD with Hy-Vee. I utilized the washi tape around the glass again. The blue background is cardstock and punched out with my die cutter I have at home for an extra touch. The free printables below has a added colored border to give it one more detail and make it interesting.
I love these yogurt pops! They are so fun and so easy! If you don’t have treat pop containers, I recommend adding them to your arsenal. You can also substitute waffle cones. I used a treat pop stand and covered it in chevron or you can use a styrofoam block (not a floral block) and cut holes in it with a poster knife. I used different combinations for the pops: Granola Sunrise (Granola, layered w/ vanilla yogurt, and fresh fruit), Strawberry Waffle Shortcake (Van’s waffle, layered w/ lemon Greek yogurt, and fresh strawberries), Banana Pudding (Vanilla wafers, banana, and vanilla yogurt). You can use any kind of yogurt you like.
These fruit and cheese pops are cute, fun, and simple. All you need are cake or lollipop stick, a small flower shaped cookie cutter, cheese and fruit. I placed a floral block in the bucket I got at the dollar store and covered it in some paper Easter grass I had left over. I used more washi tape for an extra accent.
These labels are actually chalkboard cardstock I got at a craft store for $1. I cut out circles and glued them on craft sticks I had on hand. It’s another simple, clean, and creative way to educate.
If you want to do your own Dairy Bar, here is a list of materials I used. Get the free printables to create your own Dairy Bar below. These can be used for a party, food demo, or television segment.
Milk cartons, rinsed and dried
Chalkboard spray paint
Washi craft tape
Shot glasses or glass votive candle holders, cleaned
Treat pop containers or waffle cones
Treat pop holder or Styrofoam block
Lollipop or cake pop sticks
Small bucket, basket, or glass vase
Easter grass, moss, or gift packaging material
Small craft sticks