It’s National Dairy Month, and we’re celebrating with some of our fave facts about dairy – including cool science experiments and life hacks!
1. It’s a beverage! It’s a science experiment! It’s both! While it’s best as a beverage, milk can also multitask as “plastic”. Just mix a cup of warm milk (zapped in the microwave for 90 seconds) with 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir for a few minutes, then strain and squeeze out the excess liquid. You’ll end up with a moldable “plastic” you can form into fun shapes that harden when it dries over a few days’ time!
2. Dairy helps fill in the blanks. Dairy is a great source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D – three of the four nutrients of concern that kids are missing. That’s why it’s so important to include milk, cheese and yogurt in school meals, especially breakfast.
3. This dairy cow is a real lifesaver. Dairy farmer Anita van der Laan says her cow, Gemma, found her breast cancer early enough for her to get it treated. Read this and four other heartwarming cow stories here.
4. All the sweet. Less of the sugar. Chocolate milk is a student favorite, and an important source of essential nutrients for kids. Plus, the chocolate milk served in schools is specially formulated with less sugar, so you don’t have to worry about too many sweets for the kiddos.
5. String (cheese) theory. In the 1990s, British scientists conducted experiments to determine how various ages of cheddar cheese reacted to being compressed between two plates. They published their findings in the Journal of Materials Science as “A Study of the Influence of Ageing on the Mechanical Properties of Cheddar Cheese.” For real. And we thought we were cheese nerds!
6. Do you even lift? Turns out chocolate milk is the sports drink nature intended, full of natural electrolytes and the ideal carbs-to-protein ratio for muscle recovery. For best results, drink a glass about 30 minutes after working out.
7. Dairy’s got class. Dairy MAX is really invested in our local public schools, supporting and implementing programs that teach kids how to form healthy habits. Check out the five things Dairy MAX is doing in schools.
8. Dairy’s also got guts. Fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir contain good bacteria that aids digestion (especially for people who are lactose intolerant) and may strengthen the immune system.
9. Super substitute. Plain Greek yogurt makes a rich but healthy substitute for recipe ingredients like mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese. Check out this delicious Greek yogurt recipe!
10. Cottage cheese: the comeback kid. Creamy, salty cottage cheese is making a comeback on American tables – so versatile that it can be enjoyed sweet, with fruit or jam, or savory, with tomatoes and herbs.
11. Dairy MAX is an all star. As the official nutrition partner of the Dallas Cowboys, we’re spreading the word about the importance of nutrition to all the people who look up to these amazing athletes.
12. It’s go time. We all want to get healthier, but we’re always busy, and it’s hard to find time for any breakfast, let alone a healthy one. Smoothies to the rescue! Five minutes with a blender and you’re good to go. Just make sure you use real dairy milk for nine essential nutrients including 8 grams of high-quality protein.
13. Beauty sleep. Beautiful breakfast. Speaking of quick breakfasts, how about overnight oats? Throw some oats into some milk, add whatever flavorful extras you like – fruit, cinnamon, peanut butter, cocoa powder – and stick it in your fridge overnight for a ready-to-eat meal by morning.
14. Skipping dairy is as bad as skipping leg day. Dairy is an easy, affordable, tasty way to get high-quality protein (try 8 grams per glass) in the form of casein and whey. One is absorbed slowly, the other quickly, to feed your body protein both long term and short term.
15. All in the family. 95% of dairy farms are family-owned; many are passed down through several generations.
“I am proud of the legacy of my family and of the industry as a whole.”
- Norm Dinis, Empire Dairy
16. Whey to go. Whey is an excellent source of leucine, known to stimulate muscle synthesis and decrease muscle soreness. Studies show that people who choose whey protein over soy protein build more lean muscle mass and have smaller waists. See whey stats and sources.
17. Reinvent the (cheese) wheel. Embrace a delicious Italian tradition: hollow out a cheese wheel, flambé it, and use it as a melty pasta-tossing bowl.
18. Eat your words. “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese,” G.K. Chesterton famously said. They were probably too busy eating it.
19. Cheese plates: when you’re classy but also healthy. Let’s face it: Cheese plates are about the classiest thing you can offer at a party. And while your guests snack on soft Brie and smoky Gouda, you can tell them all about these seven benefits of cheese.
20. Dairy does good. No, we don’t just mean that milk makes a great midnight snack; milk is one of the most requested items in food banks, and the Great American Milk Drive is helping fill that need. Join the fight.
21. No churn? No problem. You can make ice cream without a churn. All you need (besides the ingredients) are zip-close baggies and salt. And maybe some duct tape. Here are the details.
22. Home is where the butter is. Make your own butter (or is that “shake” your own butter?) with this fun experiment you can do with your kids. Here’s how.
23. Dairy farmers do it for the environment. Most farmers live on their farms, so it’s important to them to protect that land, air and water. Here are 14 ways they do it. Want to help? Here are some crafts you can do with recycled milk cartons.
24. Move over, water. This is a job for milk. Oatmeal, rice and condensed soup made with milk instead of water are, like, 500% more delicious (and they have more nutrients). Here’s the lowdown from Quaker. You’re welcome.
25. Dairy is tooth fairy–approved. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends cheese as a cavity-fighting snack – so after a sweet treat, make sure you snack on some cheddar cubes. In other words, sometimes it’s ok to eat dessert first.