Monday, June 17, 2013

Dairy Adventures of an Intern

By Michelle Mendoza, Ball State Dietetic Intern 

Summer is just kicking off and what a better way to celebrate summer, then to celebrate June Dairy Month with a cool, refreshing serving of your favorite ice cream. I think that there are fun and easy ways to get your three servings of dairy into your regular diet every day. Three easy ways to get dairy products into your diet are the standard milk, cheese and yogurt.

It’s starting to heat up outside so I think that it’s time to get creative and mix up your standard favorites. An easy way to keep cool this summer could be a homemade fruit yogurt pop. Mix in your favorite summer fruits and yogurt in a blender and put into an ice cube tray and now you have fun frozen yogurt pop treats.

If you want to get adventurous then you could try blending up a kale smoothie for a nutrient rich breakfast or snack. You will need fresh kale, flax seeds, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, berries (any kind), milk and a banana. Blend all these ingredients together and add ice if desired. You can now enjoy a fun green nutritious summer kale smoothie. This is a great way to get protein, vegetables, grains, fruits and dairy into your diet. If you want to try another way to eat cheese instead of string cheese, you could sprinkle some cinnamon over freshly sliced apples and complement them with low-fat cottage cheese. Together this will help maintain your blood sugar levels since it has the protein from the cheese and the carbohydrates from your fruit. This summer try to spice up your life and snacks with a little help from the dairy fairy.

I think that it is really important to support your local dairy farmers and a simple way to do that is to go to the grocery store and buy milk. From my time at the dairy council, I’ve learned that the milk you bought in the grocery store today was in a cow only 2 days ago. These dairy farmers work really hard to get you a fresh, tasty product from the farm to your table in no time. The local dairy farmers usually sell their milk to a milk company and they choose the company based on the best deal they can get for their product. If you are a Hoosier and you haven’t been to your local dairy farm, I highly encourage getting in touch with the nearest dairy farm and taking a tour. You will be amazed with how much work is put into these farms. As a dietetic intern I think that it is really fascinating to see both sides of the food industry. I’ve gotten to experience food from the nutrition side and now I have had the opportunity to see where the food comes from and the process that it goes through before coming to your grocery store. Dairy is a very important component of nutrition by providing 9 essential nutrients. By simply including dairy into your daily routine three times every day this June you are now celebrating June Dairy Month at your home!

Michelle Mendoza is from Phoenix, Arizona and is a student at Ball State. Her first dietetic internship rotation was with the Indiana Dairy Council. She previously spent her time working with dialysis patients and kidney outreach. After a few weeks at the Dairy Council, she has developed a greater appreciation for dairy farmers and the dairy industry.

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