June 2011: Dairy: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Dairy: A Nutritional Powerhouse
Researchers are finding that calcium may play a major role in preventing diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. Calcium can be found in a variety of foods including milk and milk products, oranges, broccoli, dried beans, spinach and canned salmon with bones. Leading health experts recommend milk and milk products as the preferred source of calcium because one serving supplies approximately 30% of your daily calcium. Three servings of dairy every day is suggested for adequate calcium intake. Below are some quick tips for adding dairy foods into your daily diet.

• Jump start your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast like Activia yogurt, fresh fruit and whole wheat toast.
• Have a scoop of Daisy low fat Cottage Cheese with some fresh fruit and whole grain crackers for a nutrient-rich summer lunch.
• Serve your kids (or children) Danimals® Smoothies for a cool, energizing drink.
• Grab low fat or fat free milk at lunch instead of a soft drink.
• Serve a baked potato, top with 2% shredded cheese and cooked veggies. Try Sargento Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian.
• Use low fat or fat free milk in oatmeal, pancakes and milkshakes.
• “Pour One More” glass of milk each day to help your family reach the three servings of dairy you need each day. Try Smart Balance 1% Low Fat Milk with dinner.

Exercise for Bone Health
The best kind of exercise for bone health is weight-bearing activities such as walking, running, dancing, climbing stairs, jumping rope and playing sports. Resistance exercise is also beneficial for bone health, because it uses muscle strength to build muscle mass and strengthens bones. Examples include weight lifting, using free weights and using weight machines found in gyms and health clubs. Go to Meijer for a new pair of walking shoes, bike or sports equipment for an active and healthy summer.

News on Vitamin D Deficiency
Recent studies have found that the general population is deficient in Vitamin D. There has been increased debate about the extended health benefits and required quantities of vitamin D which prompted the Institute of Medicine to conduct a review of the dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D and calcium. Results from the review validated the importance of vitamin D for its role in promoting bone growth and maintenance. For the first time ever, in 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) increased the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of Vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU per day for persons 1 to 70 years of age. Please see table below for vitamin D and calcium recommendations for all ages.

Released November 30, 2010


Who is at risk for developing Vitamin D deficiency?
• Exclusively breastfeed infants
o Human milk alone only provides 25 IU/L of vitamin D.
• Individuals with fibrosis, pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease
• Obese individuals
• People who have darker skin such as African Americans and Hispanics
• Individuals who live at high altitudes
• Adults aged 70 and older

How can I get vitamin D?

You can get vitamin D from your diet, sunlight and supplements. Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Consuming three servings of vitamin D fortified milk and yogurt is an easy way to obtain vitamin D. Other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, low fat cheese, mushrooms (the vitamin D content is boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light), breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D and some brands of orange juice and soy beverages; check the labels. If you are lactose intolerant, you can have low fat lactose-free milk, natural cheeses like low fat Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Swiss, and low fat yogurt with live and active cultures. See table below for food sources of calcium and vitamin D.

Food Sources of Calcium & Vitamin D
Food or Beverage                          Calcium (mg) Vitamin D (IU)
Milk, fat free, 1 cup1                            306             100
Chocolate milk, 1%, 1 cup1                288             100
Lactose free milk 1%, 1 cup2              300              100
Pink salmon, canned with                    277             466
With soft bones1
Vanilla yogurt, 6 oz3                           250               80
Yogurt smoothie, 10 oz3                    400               100
Bran cereal, fortified, ½ cup4             100               40

Values taken from USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. 1.http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search 2. Lactaid product web site http://lactaid.com 3. Stonyfield Farm product information. http://stonyfield.com 4. All-Bran product web site. http://www.all-bran.com

Use the NuVal Nutritional Scoring system at Meijer to help you find nutrient-rich foods. The NuVal system considers over 30 nutrients which include calcium and vitamin D. Foods are scored from 1 to 100, the higher the score, the higher the nutritional value. Look for the NuVal scores on the shelf tags under products throughout the grocery department. You can use NuVal to trade up for higher scoring foods to achieve better nutritional value. It’s that simple! For more information on NuVal, visit www.meijerhealthyliving.com or www.nuval.com.

Eating more foods rich in vitamin D along with sun exposure of 15 minutes, 2-3 times per week on our face, hands and arms without sunscreen will help improve your vitamin D levels. Excessive sun exposure may lead to skin cancer. Therefore, you should limit your sun exposure or use sunscreen when you are outdoors for more than 15 minutes.

See your doctor to have your 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels checked to determine if you need supplementation. If your levels are lower than the optimal range (32-100ng/ml), you may benefit from taking vitamin D. Please consult your doctor regarding whether you can or should take vitamin D under your doctor’s supervision. Ask your Meijer pharmacist for an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement if needed to augment your diet.

Delicious, Calcium-Rich Meal Plan:
Creamy Chicken Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms
Serves 4

2 cups cooked Barilla Plus Penne Pasta- NuVal™ score 91
1 tbsp. Meijer extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups sliced mini bella mushrooms
4 cups baby spinach- NuVal™ score 100
1 tub Kraft Philadelphia Cooking Crème Italian Cheese and Herb

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until done. Add mushrooms and spinach and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their liquid and spinach has wilted for about 8 minutes.
2. Add cooking cream; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of cooked penne pasta.

Serve with a glass of Meijer Fat Free Milk and Fresh Orange Slices for Dessert.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 385 calories, 10g fat, 4g saturated fat, 22mg cholesterol, 438mg sodium, 56g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, 18g protein


Recipe provided by:
Chef Maribel Alchin, MBA RD LDN - Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor. For more nutrition information, recipes, coupons and a weekly menu plan, visit