Recent study shows that most Canadians are not meeting the serving recommendations set by Canada’s Food Guide, especially in the dairy and fruits and vegetables section.
Most people have no problem adding in fruits into their diets, but if you find it challenging to have more veggies, read about my suggestions on how to increase your vegetable intake.
Many people tend to think the dairy food group does not provide much health benefits and hence, I is easily neglected in our diet. However, consuming dairy products not only helps us to meet our calcium needs, it also plays a supportive role in reducing the risks of chronic illnesses, including osteoporosis, and certain types of cancers. Thus, getting enough milk products is not just about keeping our bones strong, it is also about keeping optimal health!
In tackling the problem of not eating any dairy, the possible list of solutions shrinks. The problem is slightly more complex than adding in more vegetables since lactose intolerance seems to bother most adults these days and for others, they just don’t really have new ways to enjoy dairy products (I’m one of them!). Thus, instead of offering solid ways to significantly boost your dairy intake, here I can only offer you a few methods that I’m trying out to boost my dairy intake.
Substitute milk for water in cooking.
Instead of cooking 1 cup oatmeal with 2 cups of water, I try to substitute half in 1 cup low-fat milk. The result yields a slightly sweet flavour (due to the presence of natural sugar in milk, lactose) and the colour of the oatmeal becomes more creamy and it actually tastes more creamy too! If you prepare a big batch of oatmeal and reheats it the next day, you can add in a bit more milk to thin it out.
Add cheese to your meals or snacks.
Try added some grated low-fat cheese to your main dish or side dishes – not only will it enhance the flavour, but it will be a quick calcium boost too. Or how about adding a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to your fruit salad snack. The protein in the cheese will slow down digestion and prevent sugar spikes from the sweet fruits.
Instead of drinking juice, try a yogurt drink.
At many occasions, we tend to choose fruit juice over other beverages thinking that it will add to our fruits and vegetables intake (which it does, but provides minimal benefits in comparison to consuming whole fruits). In many cases, the health benefits that fruit juice offer is very minimal compare to the negative health impact that it can have. Very often, commercially prepared fruit juice are loaded with sugars and hence, we’re basically tricking ourselves to think that consuming sugar-coated fruits and vegetables are good for us! Thus, it may actually be smarter to substitute dairy beverages. This is especially suitable for those who have lactose intolerant (the fermentation process in yogurt consumes most lactose in the milk, with only trace amounts remaining).
In attempt to boost my own dairy consumption, these are the three easiest ways for me to include more dairy products in my life. What are you doing to boost your dairy intake?
To find out more about dairy consumption and calcium intake, here are a few helpful resources: