Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do the Dairy

When you’re trying to think of a healthy and filling snack, fiber always seems to come to mind. Yes, fiber is wonderful and all that, but it’s not your only option. Enter yogurt. It’s good, it’s creamy, it’s filling, and provides you with some much-needed calcium! Dairy can get a bad wrap sometimes, for its potentially high fat and high sugar content. However, if you know how to do it right, dairy is a superstar snack for your gut and your bones!

Why have you done a good thing?

Choosing dairy as your snack is a great way to get extra calcium into your diet, which is important for women and men. Calcium helps you develop and maintain strong bones, preventing fractures and osteoporosis. In addition, calcium may play a preventative role in some nutrition-related diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The DASH diet, which is a research-proven way to effectively lower blood pressure includes having adequate calcium daily. Plus, eating dairy as a snack usually means that you are eating a protein-filled snack, so it will keep you full for longer.  Most dairy products also have vitamin D, a key vitamin that helps us to absorb calcium and aids in maintaining our bone strength, among many other key bodily functions.

What should I snack on?

Yogurt (try Stonyfield Farm non-fat varieties)
Greek yogurt (Try Chobani, Fage, Oikos- all the different non-fat or 1% kinds!)
Frozen yogurt (nonfat or low-fat) – Yago Greek Yogurt Pops or Stonyfield Oikos Frozen Greek Yogurt
Cottage cheese (try Friendship 1% Fit to Go Cottage Cheese or Breakstone’s 2% Low-fat Cottage Cheese)
Drink an 8oz glass of non-fat or 1% milk
Low-fat cheese (try Alpine Lace Swiss, Babybell varieties or Trader Joe’s Low Moisture Part-skim Mozzarella Light String Cheese)

Try adding one dairy snack into your daily routine- your bones will thanks you!

Still not getting enough calcium? Try fortified almond or soy milk, sardines, tofu, almonds, bok choy, edamame or soybeans, and green leafy vegetables, and artichokes are also good sources.

Do I need a calcium supplement?

Think about your diet, in general. Do you eat the foods listed above on a daily basis? Do you eat 2 servings of dairy per day? Do you have enough vitamin D in your system to allow for the calcium to be absorbed? It is always great to get what you need primarily from your diet, but if you have a hunch that you might not get enough, talk to your doctor or dietitian about your vitamin D levels and adding a calcium supplement into your diet.

Happy snacking J

--Samantha Jacobs, MS RD CDN

1 comment:

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