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Healthy Heart Month Starts With Low Fat Dairy

Posted on Jan 29, 2014 by Maggie LaBarbera

February is national Heart Health month and a reminder to all of us about ways we can keep our hearth healthy through diet and exercise.  

For the next few blogs, I am going to focus on each of the food groups and what foods keep our heart healthy and what foods may not be so healthy for you and your family's heart.  And yes, that includes children because believe it or not, unhealthy changes in the heart can begin during childhood.  

Part 1: Healthy Hearts and Dairy

Let's start with the DAIRY Food group.  These are foods that are made of milk (that include lactose free milk).    dairy food group my plate

First, let me start by saying that milk is important for your family's body because it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. (it has nine key nutrients but is best known for its high amount of calcium and vitamin D).  Calcium and vitamin D are key for developing healthy bones and teeth during childhood and maintaining them through adulthood.

Learn more about what foods are included in the dairy group.
Learn more about calcium.


There are many ways to include dairy in your family daily meals.  The most popular way is milk but that is not the only foods.  Cheese is another great way to get enough dairy into your family's diet.  Cheese is also lower in lactose than milk.

You may hear reports that cheese is too fattening and not good for your heart.  But dairy, including cheese comes in low-fat and low-sodium options.  You can find lots of low-fat dairy options in the grocery store now.  My husband and son who are both lactose intolerant still enjoy dairy with the lactose free options.

Heart Health Tip: To help your heart stay healthy choose fat free or low-fat (1%) milk or milk products.  

I personally love cheese.  I sprinkle a little feta on my salad for extra taste and add a slice of low-fat cheese to my omelet! Kids love cheese too and it actually is the #2 food source for calcium in a child's diet.  

Dairy also has protein so it helps you feel fuller while providing the building blocks for the body.

To get enough calcium and vitamin D, it is recommended that you have 3 servings of dairy each day.  

Heart Health Tip: You don't need more than 3 servings a day. Portion control and serving size is important.


See the quantities that make up one serving of the dairy group


More Dairy Food Group Resources

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

You might be surprised to know that many children don't get enough vitamin D and calcium. They are both very important because they work together to create bones and healthy teeth. Is Your Child Getting Enough Calcium?

Understanding the Health Benefits Of The Dairy Group

What are the key benefits to the dairy group. Why does your child need to have dairy foods as part of a balanced diet.

Dairy Group - How Much Dairy Does Your Child And Family Really Need?

Wondering how much dairy you or your child needs. Chart indicating how much milk or dairy products you and your family need for a balanced heathy diet.

Shopping For The Dairy Food Group

The dairy group is one of the five foods groups needed to have a well balanced heatlhy body. In particular children need foods high in calicium and vitamin D. The dairy group is a great source for these nutrients. Learn more about the dairy group and also get tips on how to purchase dairy foods from the grocery store.

List Of Risk Factors For Osteoporosis

You may be wondering why we have osteoporosis listed in this section. The reason is that it can be prevented by building strong bones. Strong bones are built during childhood by getting enough calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise. List of risk factors for osteoporosis.

List Of Types Of Cheeses

Ever wonder how many types of cheese there are. Here is a comprehensive list of the types of cheeses available in grocery stores.

Parents Guide - List Of Dairy Drinks And Foods

Here is a list of the dairy foods you can find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Guide To Common Portion And Serving Size From The Dairy Group

Information on What Counts As A Dairy Serving. The dairy group is an important food group that provides children with much needed calcium and vitamin D for growing healthy bones and teeth. Here is a guide to make a healthy serving of dairy from the My Plate dairy food group.






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