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June Dairy Month is here – a time to celebrate the entire dairy aisle and the innovative products it offers shoppers. From staples like milk and eggs to creative new items like refrigerated puff pastry and English muffins, there are endless ways to embrace this versatile category.

In the past, a glass of milk was a staple at every meal, a symbol of nurturing and growth. And the wisdom of our parents and grandparents rings true today – dairy products are powerhouse providers of essential nutrients that nurture our bodies throughout life’s stages.

Dairy (and dairy alternative) products contain essential nutrients to promote well-being at all ages, so it’s exciting to see that the refrigerated dairy aisles have expanded with choices beyond our wildest dreams. From flavorful yogurts to a vast variety of cheese, to an abundance of plant-based alternatives, it’s never been easier to find nourishing options to fit into every dietary pattern. Here are 3 key reasons to feel good about adding dairy products to your list and in your cart.

Cultivate a Thriving Gut Ecosystem  

Along with their key nutrients, some dairy foods also add a healthy dose of good bacteria, known as probiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that are used to make fermented foods. Probiotics are sometimes called good bacteria because they can have beneficial effects on our bodies. Not only do probiotics help boost the food’s shelf life, they also increase its nutritional value and can be crucial to digestive health and proper immune function. From tangy yogurt and kefir to savory cheese, there are numerous options to find good bacteria in the dairy aisle. Click here for our Probiotics in the Dairy Aisle infographic to learn more, and try these deliciously healthy ideas for adding probiotic-rich dairy products to your diet:

  • Smoothie Boost: Blend yogurt or kefir into your morning smoothie for a probiotic boost. Add in frozen fruits for additional flavor and nutrients.
  • Breakfast Bowl: Create a tasty breakfast bowl. Choose your favorite hot or cold whole grain cereal and top it with yogurt or kefir. You can also top a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, or granola for a nourishing, protein-packed meal.
  • Dressings and Dips: Substitute all or part of the mayonnaise in your homemade dips and dressings with plain Greek yogurt or kefir. Mix in your favorite herbs and spices for a tangy and nutritious change.
  • Elevate Oatmeal: Elevate your oatmeal game with recipes like our Maple Pecan Latte Overnight Oats, harnessing the combined benefits of yogurt and almond milk. Explore the realm of overnight oats to savor the probiotic perks of dairy in innovative ways.
  • Cheese it Up: Elevate reduced-fat soft cheeses like cottage or ricotta by seasoning them with everything spice, perfect for pairing with whole grain crackers and crisp veggies. Sprinkle Parmesan, Swiss, or sharp cheddar atop salads, soups, or casseroles for a burst of flavor that enhances any dish. And don’t forget to layer cheese into your favorite sandwiches or wraps for a savory upgrade.
  • Frozen Treats: Indulge in delicious frozen yogurt treats found in the frozen aisle of your grocery store and try something new for dessert.

Strengthen Bones, Embrace Vitality

Osteoporosis, the silent underminer of bone strength, poses a significant threat, particularly to women. Combat this insidious foe by fortifying your diet with calcium-rich dairy products and the bone-boosting prowess of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium to deposit it into bones. Consuming a bone-healthy dietary pattern is part of the strategy for preventing ongoing bone loss as we age. The right food choices, with optimal calcium and vitamin D, should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle that also includes regular physical activity. It’s also important to remember that the amount of calcium and vitamin D needed to optimize bone health increases with age. Women between the ages of 18-50 need about 1,000 mgs of calcium a day. That increase to 1,200 mgs when women turn 50. If you’re not getting enough calcium, try to increase your consumption of foods that are high in the mineral. Traditional dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese are the richest food sources. For example, one 8-ounce serving of skim, low-fat or whole milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium. Calcium is also found in plant-based dairy alternatives, or calcium-fortified foods such as juice. If needed, your physician may also recommend a calcium supplement with vitamin D. To increase the calcium in your diet, look for recipes that include delicious dairy products. Here are some great recipes to try in the coming month:

Bridge Nutritional Gaps

Not only are dairy foods rich in calcium, they also pack a powerful protein punch. This high-quality protein is vital for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function. Protein from dairy products contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption, to support immune function, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Dairy products also provide essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A, B12, and riboflavin, which are integral for various bodily functions. To learn more about the nutrients in dairy and plant-based beverages click here.

If you are someone who avoids dairy products due to lactose intolerance or are one who chooses dairy-free options, there is no need to give up the benefits of consuming dairy products. Simply look for lactose-free dairy products. You can also enjoy some of the many plant-based alternatives now available. Many of these products have added calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. In addition, the plant-based alternatives offer healthy options for individuals who follow a vegan eating pattern. With so many tasty varieties, brands and flavors, everyone is sure to find a favorite.

This June Dairy Month, seize the opportunity to assess your eating patterns to determine if you are consuming enough nutrient-rich dairy products. The refrigerated dairy aisles offer much more than the typical products you might think of. Explore the aisles today and look for delicious recipe inspiration in our Rediscover Recipe Lookbook and visit Easy Home Meals Recipes.