Health effects of yogurt

Back to school is an opportunity for healthy eating

Dietitian Barbara Ruhs gives a tips for a healthy back to school diet
Barbara Ruhs, supermarket registered dietitian

Registered Dietitian Barbara Ruhs answers our questions on this special moment that is the transition between the summer break and the first days going back to school. With her keen eye on healthy nutrition, Barbara details the advantages yogurt represent as a healthy food during this special time of the year.

Is diet transition between the summer holidays/vacation and going back to school a concern?

For more than 15 million children in the U.S. that are battling hunger on a daily basis, the transition from summer vacation back to school can help provide a vital source of nourishment. The U.S.D.A’s Child Nutrition programs, such as the school breakfast and school lunch, provide food for children that may not be at-risk for hunger. In fact, yogurt that is served in smoothies at breakfast is now part of a reimbursable meal offered in schools.

Furthermore, back to school can also improve overall child nutrition by providing more structure and regular meal times that may not happen regularly during vacation time. Snacks and treats that are accessible at home all day can impact the nutritional quality of overall intake during the summer. Back to school is a great time for families to get back to the routine of eating healthy, balanced meals together.

To read more about childhood hunger in the U.S., visit Share Our Strength and the “No Kid Hungry” campaign:

What are the main benefits of yogurt for kids?

Yogurt is a nutrient-dense food that offers a variety of nutritional benefits to children. Yogurt provides energy, calcium, protein and B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin) that support optimal growth during childhood. In addition, cultured dairy products may be easier for some children to digest and may also provide a source of probiotics. The beneficial bacteria provided by cultured dairy products can help boost immunity in children and support normal digestion. Not only is yogurt good for children, it tastes great and is a versatile choice at meals and snacks.

Yogurt is a versatile meal addition and ingredient.

What can yogurt replace in order to maintain a healthy diet?

The protein in yogurt can serve as a meat replacement for children who may not be eating enough meat, eggs, beans, fish and nuts. In addition, for children who don’t like to drink fluid milk, yogurt is a calcium-rich alternative.

What are some of the ways to include yogurt in meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?

At breakfast, yogurt may be served with fruit and cereal as a parfait. It can also be used as an ingredient when making smoothies to boost calcium and protein.

Yogurt is a great, portable option for lunch boxes and can be eaten as an addition to the meal or as a treat for dessert.

For dinner, plain yogurt can be used as an ingredient in salad dressings or as a condiment on top of tacos, soup, chili or hearty stews. Flavored yogurt or plain yogurt topped with berries and whipped cream is a nutritious and delicious dessert.

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