June is National Dairy and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Just a quick reminder here that this is a perfect time of year to add more fresh produce and dairy to your eating and be mindful of their importance. These are nutrient-dense foods critical to your health and they provide a high ratio of nutrients per calorie.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce our risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Two to three fruit and two to three cups of veggies daily have been highlighted in studies to be health-promoting. Why not explore this summer’s finest ripe, sweet fresh produce such as cherries, berries, apricots, blackberries, peaches, melons, and sweet peppers, beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash!
Like fruits and vegetables, dairy foods are nutrition-powerhouses also. Key to bone health, blood pressure and heart rhythm, milk products are the easiest way to assure you are getting enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. In fact, each glass of milk contributes significant amounts of nine major nutrients, as well as almost every other nutrient we need. Two glasses a day, and you are on your way to a healthier day. When choosing milk, note that regular non-fat milk has a higher potassium content than soy and almond, and Greek yogurt concentrates even more potassium. Potassium plays a big role in a maintaining a healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
To celebrate National Dairy and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, why not try these two easy, healthy breakfast recipes from MilkLife.com. You can swap in your favorite fruits or add a few green leaves, including kale or spinach leaves, to the smoothie, or add a touch of orange juice to replace the sweetener in oatmeal.
Protein-Packed Berry Burst Smoothie – provides 10 grams of protein and 250 mg calcium, meeting 25% of your daily need (Daily Value) for calcium per serving.
Slow Cooker Oats – This easy make-ahead recipe is perfect for busy families, provides 9 grams of protein and meets 25% of your daily need (Daily Value) for calcium per serving.
This shake and oatmeal each include milk, oatmeal (a whole-grain), nuts and fruit – a winning combination for any meal. So, go ahead and try these. You’ll start your day with additional health and a burst of flavor!
For more ideas on healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.