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Posted in Blog, News, and Press Releases on April 4th, 2012

It’s the time of year to break out the broom and dust pan and do a little tidying up. It’s also the perfect time to think about spring-cleaning your diet. Busy schedules can sometimes push personal health to the bottom of the priority list. But a fresh season can bring a fresh start!  Follow these five tips from the St. Louis District Dairy Council to help get your wayward diet back on track.

Tip #1:  Strive to reach the recommendations.

3 Servings of Dairy The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans support research showing that three servings of low fat and fat free dairy products, as part of a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. Consuming three servings of dairy each day can also help promote dental and bone health. Fitting in those three servings can be as easy as adding low fat milk to morning coffee, topping a salad with low fat shredded cheese, or getting a mid-afternoon chocolate fix by enjoying a glass of chocolate milk.

Whole Grains In addition, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that half of the grains foods you eat be whole grain.  By switching to 100% whole wheat breads, pastas or cereals, you can add much-needed fiber to your diet.

Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables should fill half of the mealtime plate; and chances are you need to eat more of both. Increasing fruit and vegetables helps to boost the amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in your diet. Spring is a great time to start checking out local farmers’ markets for seasonal produce.

Protein When it comes to protein, the recommendation is to choose lean sources. Consider adding fish to weekly lunch or dinner menus. You can also add variety to your protein line-up with Greek yogurt, low fat cheese, nuts and beans.

 Tip #2: Make breakfast a priority. Cleaning up your diet can be as simple as making breakfast part of the morning routine. A morning meal is a great way to get a supply of nutrients your body may be missing! Enjoying a bowl of cereal and milk, along with fruit, can add calcium, potassium, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber to your day.  Or try this quick fix alternative:

Easy To Please Yogurt Parfait


1/2 cup lightly drained canned peach slices

1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt

1/2 cup raisin-bran cereal

Layer peaches, yogurt and cereal in a glass or cup. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition Facts: Calories-360, Fat- 3.5 g, Protein- 15 g, Calcium 45 % dairy value

Tip #3: Make the swap. Use simple substitutions to save calories and add nutrients. Switching from whole milk to skim milk will save nearly 80 calories and 9 grams of fat, without losing any nutrients. Reduced fat cheese delivers the same punch of calcium and protein as regular cheese, but with less fat. And, swapping out sour cream for low fat or fat free yogurt in dip recipes can boost the taste while trimming the fat.  Try this tangy take on a traditional creamy dip:

Chipotle Pepper Dip


1 teaspoon chipotle pepper sauce

2 (8-ounce) containers low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Assorted cut vegetables or corn chips

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix until blended and refrigerate. Add shredded cheese. Serve with assorted cut vegetables or corn chips.

Nutrition Facts:  Calories- 90, Fat- 3 g, Protein- 6 g, Calcium 20 % daily value

 Tip #4:  Add a snack. The last thing you want to feel when you start changing your diet is hungry. That’s why snacks play such a major role in healthy eating plans. Ditch the empty-calorie chips, and add fruit and yogurt, a cheese stick with whole grain crackers, or a simple glass of chocolate milk to your afternoon.  These snacks will fill you up while providing nutrients to fuel your body.  When it comes to smart snacks, check out the label and aim for 150-200 calories with plenty of protein, calcium, and other nutrients.  You will feel charged up and ready to take on the afternoon. 

Tip #5:  Get enough exercise. Moving your body is just as important as eating healthy foods. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 60 or more minutes of physical activity a day for 6 to 17-year-olds, and 2 hours and 30 min of physical activity a week for 18 to 64-year-olds. Reaching the recommendation can help promote weight maintenance and heart health. Increasing physical activity levels can be as easy as parking at a distance and walking the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, doing exercises while watching television or playing outside with the kids.

Putting these tips into practice can help spring clean your diet!  For more information, contact St. Louis Dairy Council (314) 835-9668 or check us out at and on Facebook