9 Ways to Fight Diabetes with Dairy

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 34 million American adults, accounting for nearly 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. As of 2018, more than 10.5% of the American population had diabetes. Total direct medical cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States was $237 billion.

But not all news is bad on the diabetes research front. Several recent studies indicate that eating and drinking more dairy may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

As a registered dietitian, I use a few tricks to help my family get their three servings of dairy a day. I’m hoping they might help you, too:

Milk

1. Milk makes our mealtimes better! I have fond memories of growing up and drinking milk at breakfast, school lunch and dinnertime. Today, I feel good about choosing milk at dinner, not only for myself but for my two growing pre-teens because it makes me a better role model and it helps me squeeze in my third daily serving. Milk is a nutrient rich drink that pairs perfectly with all meals.

2. I personally love low-fat chocolate milk - it's my go-to post-workout beverage. Not only is it tasty, but it helps me rehydrate, it's a quality protein source, and it can help me maintain lean muscle. The amount of added sugar in chocolate milk (2 tsp./serving) is less than half of what you’d find in regular soda (4 tsp./serving) and most energy drinks.

3. I use milk in place of water in most recipes.  I feel confident knowing I am adding extra nutrients such a protein, calcium and Vitamin D to enhance the nutrition of my dishes for my family. 

Cheese

4. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for meat at dinnertime.  Thankfully, cheese is easy on the budget and is a great source of protein. Grilled cheese sandwich anyone?

5. Shredded cheese makes everything taste a little better and I love that it’s boosting the protein and calcium on my salads, soups and casseroles. It can also be added to vegetables to make them more appealing to my children.

6. Our stand-by, easy -to-pack snack is cheese paired with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit. It’s so convenient and really stops hunger in its tracks. Plus, it provides great energy to finish out the day of work, sports and play. 

Yogurt

7. Yogurt has been one of my “go to” desserts for a while now. My favorite flavor is strawberry with added berries. Who doesn’t love a lite dessert? I like making a yogurt dip with ½ cup plain Greek yogurt and 2 Tbs of sugar free, dry pudding mix.  The flavor options are endless.

8. Serve your yogurt dip with colorful fruit kabobs and it’ll be a snack everyone in your family loves!

Whey

9. My football playing son punches up the power of weight training sessions with a post-workout whey protein smoothie.  Whey is a great source of health benefits and an easy add to your recovery efforts.  Whey protein powder isn’t necessary for every individual; luckily, whey is naturally found in all dairy foods.

As a dietitian and a mom, I’m excited about the many health benefits of choosing dairy. Make it a point to enjoy your three servings of dairy every day.

By Jennifer Duhon, M.S., RDN, LDN

Jen is a Louisiana native who was inspired to enter the field of nutrition by her grandmother. She was the first registered dietitian to hold a board seat on the Louisiana Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In her free time, Jen enjoys kickboxing, dancing, running and spending time with her husband and two children. Learn more about Jen here.

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