Posts Tagged ‘milk’

As featured on the National Dairy Council The Dairy Report.

Posted By David Grotto On December 8, 2014 @ 8:27 am In Nutrition and Science | No Comments

Ever since I was a kid, I refused to limit my love affair for cereal and milk to only the breakfast occasion. This combo proved a simple and delicious after-school or before-bedtime snack that I didn’t have to bother mom and dad to “make”– especially considering my limited culinary prowess as a kid. The recipe ingredient simplicity of bowl [1]cereal [2]milk and spoon was culinary genius! Maybe, if I felt really adventurous, I’d add on a banana or other fruit topping… maybe.

The food pairing of cereal and milk was something my parents intuitively felt really good about — having a hunch that the combined nutrition merits were very special. As both a parent and a registered dietitian, I’m thrilled to confirm that my parents’ hunch was spot on. The marriage of cereal and milk* is not only a tasty combination that has been appealing to kids and adults alike for over a century, but it is truly an ideal breakfast when combined with a serving of fruit, snack or any occasion-pairing based on its nutrition, health benefits and convenience.1,2042914breakfast_s [3]

The milk and cereal [4] duo delivers important nutrients that kids and adults otherwise might miss out on if they skipped breakfast altogether or picked a less nutritious choice.1,3,4 That’s a smart thing to do as it turns out that when it comes to breakfast foods, the cereal and milk combo is a one of the best choices in supplying up to 10 important nutrients for the amount of calories they provide.1,3

Plus, milk and cereal is one of the best combos in providing shortfall “nutrients of concern:”Many cereal and milk combos provide calcium, potassium, vitamin D and fiber.1 This can help populations such as children, adolescent girls, women and older adults who are at risk of not meeting their calcium needs based on their current intake.3 In addition to getting essential calcium, potassium and vitamin D from milk, some cereals are also fortified with these key nutrients to help meet this need. In fact, regularly eating cereals at breakfast can help provide adequate nutrient consumption.3,5

And the best part is that cereal and milk is an option available to many. It’s a good value and an affordable choice compared to many other popular breakfast options.1

Lastly, cereal and milk are great on-the-go partners for portability, nutrition and deliciousness! TASTE, not nutrition, is the number one reason why people purchase the food  they do.6 Because cereal comes in a variety of flavors and textures, cereal and milk can be a perfect solution for making good nutrition delicious and do-able!

Here’s some tasty tips that just might fuel right for you!

  • Grab single-serve cartons of cereal and low-fat or fat-free milk from the convenience store on your way to the kid’s game or as a healthy snack between errands.
  • Refrigerate shelf-stable milk cartons and pack it along with single serve bowls of ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC) or RTEC pouches for kids’ lunches.
  • Use milk instead of water to boost the nutrition of your favorite hot cereal.
  • Add in fruit such as mixed berries, mandarin oranges or sliced mango. Fruit can offer additional vital nutrients such as potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate.
  • Top with nuts for added fiber and healthy fats.
  • Be adventurous. Can’t decide between two different cereals? Play master chef and combine the two, three or more cereals for a new taste sensation. Don’t forget to pour on low-fat or fat-free flavored milk to provide even more flavor versatility!

*Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties first.

David Grotto, MS, RD, LDN is the author of The Best Things You Can Eat and also the Senior Nutrition Marketing Business Partner for the Specialty Channels division of the Kellogg Company. The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of David’s and not necessarily that of the Kellogg Company.

  1. Cereal: The Complete Story. Available here [5]. Accessed October 1, 2014.
  2. Kellogg’s: A Historical Overview. Available here [6]. Accessed October 2, 2014.
  3. Williams, PG. The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: a systematic review of the evidence base. Advances in Nutrition. 2014;5(5):636S-73S.
  4. O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA. Food Sources of Energy and Nutrients among Adults in the US: NHANES 2003–2006. Nutrients. 2012; 4(12):2097-2120.
  5. Song, WO, OK Chun, J Kerver, S Cho, CE Chung, S Chung. Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Consumption Enhances Milk and Calcium Intake in the US Population. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106:1783–1789.
  6. International Food Information Council: 2014 Food and health Survey. Available here [7]. Accessed October 30, 2014.

Eat less calories, sodium, sugar, sat and trans fat and eat more plants and drink water instead of sugary sodas. Oh yeah…and Move! That’s basically the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans distilled down to a sound-bite. So, for those of you who just wanted the “low-down”, you are free to bail on me now. For all others, behold! For here they are in all of their glory…

Enjoy your food, but eat less.

Avoid oversized portions.

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.

Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

This may surprise you but I embrace these new guidelines…I really do. In fact, I also believe they are based on good science and NOT the result of special interest lobby groups’ efforts (oh how we love a juicy conspiracy story!).

Take the dairy message for example; I’m not too sure how the dairy folks feel about “Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk” as part of the new guidelines. I know I’m thinking “How many people are getting in too much saturated fat and calories because they are drinking 2% or whole milk?”  According to 2005-2006 NHANES data, only 60% of Americans consume the recommended amount of milk and milk products. And out of all milk products consumed, only 1/3 is consumed as a milk beverage. So it seems that whole milk as an ingredient may be more at issue and not because people are buying too much 2% and whole milk. Anyhow, I digress…a little…

What I really like about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is that it establishes dietary goals for better health. Who can’t get behind “Make 1/2 Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables”? But what I really loathe about the guidelines is that in their history, the majority of the population has never achieved all of the recommendations! Yet every 5 years, we are compelled to “raise (or lower in the case of “nutrients of concern”, i.e. sodium, sat and trans fat, cholesterol) the bar” despite how successful we as a society were in achieving the prior guidelines. Ah, but should we shoot the messenger? Is it the guidelines that I loathe or our inabilities to achieve them?

Guidelines without real teeth for implementation will always be just “guidelines”. It’s how we tackle them as a society that will change lofty guidelines into a roadmap for health. So I want to present for discussion how we might just go about making these guidelines “real” for everyone concerned. And I like approaching health “one delicious bite at a time” so let’s tackle what I consider the most important guideline of them all.

Task:. Make Half of Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.


I turned to blogger friend Jenna Pepper for some help on this one. You see, Jenna is a mommy blogger who has a kid-focused blog called Food with Kid Appeal. She already has been working on this project for as long as her kids could eat solid foods. What’s more is that Jenna also has taken her mission from the family kitchen table to the school cafeteria in the “Eat to Learn” program at Sherwood Elementary School in Houston Texas. She shared with me how this program is really making a difference in her community.

Q. What is the Eat to Learn Program?

Jenna: Eat to Learn is a year-long food education program that strives to make a connection with kids between food and learning, as well as increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in the school cafeteria. The program is not only for students at school, but also involves parents in several events. Eat to Learn was a grant proposal submitted to National Parent Teacher Association for a $1,000 grant award.  Sherwood did not receive a grant award.  We were able to fund the program with parent and community donations.  Events in the program include: 

  • daily morning announcements that connects 21 fruits and vegetables served in the cafeteria to learning
  • a parent meeting to educate parents on the nutrients a learning brain needs
  • Turkey Trot that links physical activity to improved learning
  • Lunch tray evaluations – students get to grade their lunch tray or lunch box selections
  • Taste Off – a campus wide food tasting competition
  • Monthly Eat to Learn flyers sent home with students for parents to read the content contained in the morning announcements.

Q. Why Sherwood Elementary?

Jenna: My sons both attend Sherwood Elementary.  Our school principal, Stefanie Noble, is supportive of building better eating habits in the student body as well as increasing student success by way of real food. Without a principal who believes in educating the whole child; including academics and wellness, the students at Sherwood would not be receiving education about real food and how it helps them succeed at school.  Ms Noble was receptive to the program from the beginning. 

Q. Tell me about the “Taste Off” competition.

Jenna: The Taste off Competition was a campus wide event, where each Sherwood student received a punch card with 9 foods listed: celery, cucumber, carrots, green beans, pears, oranges, beans, broccoli and spinach.  Each child was offered 9 types of produce and given an opportunity to taste them.  Tasters received a punch on their card.  After the tastings, students got to decide their favorite and least favorite item tasted by placing a sticker on a poster to build two Decision Charts for each grade.  After the tastings, students got to jump rope, dance, hula hoop or play soccer.   In the weeks following the taste off, each class room will receive their punch cards to build graphs and interpret the tasting data. They will also be writing journal entries and essays about the Eat to Learn program. The Eat to Learn program was designed to tie into math and language arts curriculum. 

Q. Of the 400 kids, how many tried the various produce offerings?

Jenna: 82% of the students tried all 9 items.  I saw a couple of punch cards with 3 tastes (the lowest), but of the 18% who didn’t taste all the foods, most tasted 7-8 items.   Surprisingly, raw spinach and broccoli were tasted by 95% of kids.

Q. What were the results?

Jenna: 48% selected one of the vegetables as favorite, 52% selected a fruit as their favorite.  25% preferred a green vegetable out of all nine foods offered.

Q. How do the results of this project apply to kids across America?

Jenna: Many kids do not eat vegetables, and many kids do not prefer vegetables.  Liking a vegetable and preferring a vegetable are two different things. Many kids never learn to eat items they don’t prefer. The vast majority of their diet on a daily basis is made up of various preferred items. Training taste buds starts with mindset.  If mom believes that her kiddo can learn to like vegetables, and she follows up that belief with similar thoughts (jr tasted broccoli today, that’s progress.) and actions (serving vegetables on a regular basis) and expectations (I expect that my child will learn to eat vegetables because we value food that nourishes the body) then in most cases a child will learn to eat vegetables.  What happens with mom’s mindset is more like this “Picky eaters don’t usually like vegetables.”  What do her thoughts, actions and expectations look like?  What are the results? I’m not saying that an open mindset enables every kid to eat every vegetable, but that mindset sets kids up for success with healthy eating habits.

Studies have shown that kids have more taste buds than adults.  This means they taste “bitter” much more intensely than adults do.  Some bitter vegetables are often unloved by kids until they are older and have lost some of their taste buds.  If a child has a strong reaction to a bitter vegetable at age 3, that broccoli or leafy green may forever be labeled as “unacceptable” by the child. When in reality, that same flavor could be adopted with practice or in time, as taste buds decrease, become palatable. Another issue is mindset.  How many parents would end up with literate kids if we doubted our child’s ability to learn to read?  Kids learn to read because we know they are capable of it, we expect it and our actions are in agreement with our mindset. The results (literacy or adventurous eating) fall out of the mindset.

  • Mindset matters.  Believe that your child will learn to like vegetables the same way he learns to ride a bike, read or write.  With lots of practice, with parents who believe he can.
  • Control of the menu.  Remove processed food from the menu, and see what kids eat.  When crisp steamed broccoli sits next to boxed macaroni and cheese, it’s hard for a palate to appreciate the broccoli.
  • Make vegetables relevant to kids.  Kids want to eat foods that help them grow, learn and move.  What is it that your kids do with their mind and body?  Make sure they know that vegetables help them do what they love.
  • Be consistent with your actions. Offer a variety of veggies often and in a variety of ways on a regular basis.  Some kids will eat raw spinach vs. cooked spinach.  Some kids prefer carrots cooked to raw.  Try lots of veggie salads, lots of veggies sides, roast veggies, steam them, and serve raw veggies with dips like salad dressing or hummus.  If you don’t cook, make sure you expose your child to lots raw veggies in their lunch box and select vegetables in restaurants.  Menus are full of delicious salads and side vegetable items.
  • Communicate your expectations to your kids. Let kids know that nourishing their body is a value your family holds.  Let them know you expect them to nourish their body with plenty of wholesome food. Teach kids they don’t have to love vegetables or prefer them to eat them.  They can just be “acceptable”, or “not yucky.”  With so many processed foods that are chemically engineered to taste amazing, it’s hard for young eaters to accept a food item that doesn’t create a party in their mouth. 

Q. I heard a poem was written about the health benefits of eating produce and was shared with the kids at Sherwood Elementary. Can you share it with us?

Jenna: Sure!

Spinach makes memorizing math facts a breeze,
B vitamins bring oxygen to the brain helping it breath.
Antioxidants prevent brain cell death by the hour,
more brain cells = more spelling power.
Folic acid has the brain instruct your face to smile
while you put facts and figures in a huge brain file.
The iron in spinach will fuel you with energy,
run, swing, climb, slide and be done with lethargy.
Eat the spinach sitting there on your lunch tray
you’ll grow a big brain the Sherwood way.

Thanks Jenna! I like the “…and be done with lethargy” part. Hopefully this new set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans will inspire all to work together to improve the health of our nation. And maybe we will finally be done with apathy, too!

I’d love your thoughts about the new guidelines and want to hear about your efforts on the home front, at schools, in industry, etc. to make them come alive deliciously on the plate. Comment away!

Athlete’s Honey Milk

Mooove over yucky tasting protein shakes and make way for the goodness of milk… Athlete’s Honey Milk, that is.

Athlete’s Honey Milk (AHM) is a designer milk product from the Good Cow corporation. Good Cow specializes in designer milk formulations where reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration technologies concentrate milk proteins and minerals while eliminating lactose and fat leaving behind higher calcium and protein milk products. Honey is added for flavor and sweetness and as a source of available carbohydrate.


Nutrition Smackdown

This is some SERIOUS milk! Besides what it doens’t have, being lactose and not a lot of fat (only 3.5 g per 11 ounce serving), AHM is loaded with:

  • Calcium – a whopping 60% of your daily value (DV)!
  • Vitamin D – 25% of the DV
  • Protein – 26 grams!

The carbohydrate source is honey in place of lactose. This is most welcome news for those with lactose intolerance and does provide athletes, from serious triathletes to the weekend warrior, with both glucose and fructose to meet immediate and endurance energy needs. Calories clock in at 240 per 11 ounces – not bad as a replacement drink with so much nutrition in it. But I think it would be great if they came out with a lower calorie version, too. In fact, I spoke with Anders Porter, spokesperson for Athlete’s Honey Milk who said

“We recognize the need for a lower calorie and carb version and I am thrilled to announce that we wil be offering two new flavors that are lower in calories: chocolate and coffee. They will be available in May of this year. Both flavors contain 150 calories and just 11 grams of carbs while supplying an amazing 20 grams of protein.”

And though this is not intended to be a meal replacement or a therapeutic nutritional beverage, it could easily be one with a few nutritional tweaks. Hmmm…food for thought, AHM!

Cost and packaging

AHM is sold in a case of 12 direct from the company. You can also find it at some sporting goods, specialty stores and gyms. The company does plan on increasing its presence in retail stores around the country. If you purchase it online, it costs $25.00 for a case of 12 which breaks down to $2.08 per unit. Add on shipping and tax and you may be looking at around $3.00 a unit. In comparison, AHM is less expensive than its nearest competitor Muscle Milk. AHM is running a special – buy 1 get 1 case free. [Correction – their new deal, I was just told, is order a free case and just pay for shipping.] The coupon will be sent to you in an email when you order online. 

Presently, AHM comes in an aseptic container without an attached straw. Adding a straw would be nice.  Mr. Porter also added that they are looking into different packaging that may resolve that issue. Stay tuned!


Sharon and I LOVED it! We were pleasantly surprised that it didn’t have that overly-sweet-chaulky-protein taste. Instead it had a nice clean taste like milk that had some honey added to it. In essence, that is what AHM is, except with more nutrition bang. And of course, a Shelvic Exam wouldn’t be the same unless the three Grotto girls weighed in with their ranking. They were unanimous on this one!

Dear Guyatitian:

Are brown rice cakes and puffed brown rice cereal considered whole grain?  They only have 1 gram of fiber, but their puffed so you eat more.  Just curious.

Annie from Chicago


Dear Annie

Puffed brown rice is a whole grain. However, the puffing process changes the rice in a few ways.

 “Glycemic index” is a method of determining the effect of a specifc food on blood glucose (sugar). The higher the number, the greater the effect (in theory). Cooked brown rice, for example, has a glycemic index(GI) of 55. Once the rice is puffed and turned into cereal or rice cakes, the GI shoots up to 78. So for those who may be more ‘carb sensitive’, puffed rice by itself may not be the best choice.

Though only 60 calories a cup, it’s pretty much void of nutrition. There’s a smidge of potassium, a sprinkle of iron and a few traces of b vitamins such as thiamin and niacin.

Apart from that, I think there isn’t much whole grain goodness to get excited about  after the rice has been puffed. And in my experience, my patients are often STARVING an hour later if that is all that they had to eat.

If you are going to eat them, I would strongly advise pairing up your puffs with milk (cow or soy have the most protein) and perhaps top with berries and nuts and have an egg on the side. That breakfast might stick to your ribs for a while and provide much need nutrition that the rice puffs alone don’t deliver. Enjoy!

Ciao and Chow

The Guyatitian

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