The Benefits of Dairy

This post was written by Kate Machado

June 25, 2015



As a dietitian and nutritionist that works with all types of individuals – from growing children, to elite athletes, to adults trying to lose weight or just maximize overall health – some of my favorite functional foods to recommend are dairy products.


Why Dairy?


Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese contain the perfect combination of nutrients for maximizing energy and nutrient absorption.


  • Carbs, Protein & Fat: These 3 macronutrients are found naturally in milk and yogurt (although not in non-fat). Every meal and snack should contain a balance of these nutrients to help with blood sugar control and satiety. Thus, by including dairy as part of your meal- it’s taken care of! Cheese contains only protein and fat and pairs well with a fruit or whole grain carb for a balanced option.
  • Calcium, Vitamin D, & Phosphorus: Dairy products are the best source of calcium because they also contain vitamin D, which increases absorption. In addition, phosphorus plays an essential role is building strong bones, and because of its role in the growth, maintenance and repair of your body’s tissues and cells, eating adequate amounts of phosphorus can help to reduce muscle pain after an intense bout of physical activity.
  • Electrolytes – Sodium & Potassium: Milk and milk products naturally contain electrolytes, which are important for proper functioning of nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Milk, drank as a post-workout recovery beverage, helps to rehydrate and replace essential amino acids that are critical for muscle repair.


Health-Conscious Dairy Meal Plan

Often times, it’s difficult to really know what types of dairy are considered healthy. Beyond that, how do you know what recipes keep the calories and sugar down? Here are some healthy-conscious dairy options for any meal of the day!
        • Breakfast: Greek yogurt + berries + slivered almonds + Kashi Go Lean Crunch
        • Lunch:  Mini Mushroom and Turkey Sausage Quiche (full recipe)
        • Dinner: Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas (full recipe)
        • Snack: String cheese/cottage cheese + fruit
        • Dessert: Lemon Ginger Frozen Yogurt (full recipe)


Lactose intolerant? Stay tuned for Kate’s breakdown of healthy alternatives to dairy.