Closing the Nutrient Gap with Milk Products

images“Drink your milk.” Some of the best advice a mom can give. Why? She knows what she’s talking about. It tastes good and it’s good for you, too.

Did you know that milk products play a key role in health and well being? It’s true! The connection to bone health is pretty well-known, but in actuality, the health benefits of milk products go beyond bone health. Three servings of milk or dairy every day can also help reduce the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Milk products, whether flavored or not, have an unparalleled nutrient package. Nine essential nutrients including high-quality protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin D, are in every glass. And at just about 25 cents per cup, it offers a nutritional bargain at an affordable price that you can’t pass up.

Fast Fact: Most Kenyans fall below the Dietary Guidelines recommendations for dairy foods. We need three servings of milk products, but most people get less than two.

It’s also a known fact that many Kenyans are missing out on certain “nutrients of concern”: calcium, potassium, vitamin D and fiber—this negatively impacts health. Milk is an ideal beverage to help bridge that nutrient gap in a tasty and affordable way. So, as mom said, “drink your milk.”  You’ll be glad you did!

Know Your Milk

Whole Milk (3.25% fat) Contains 150 calories and 8 grams (g) of fat per serving (8 fluid oz). Although not required, whole milk may be fortified with vitamin D at a level of 400 International Units (IU) per 1 quart If vitamin D is added, the label must state this fact.
Reduced-Fat Milk (2% fat) Contains 120 calories and 5 grams (g) of fat per serving (8 fluid oz). Vitamins A and D are removed with the milk fat. For this reason, these vitamins must be added to 2% reduced-fat milk so that it contains at least 2,000 IU of vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin D per 1 quart. The addition of these vitamins must be stated on the label.
Low-fat Milk (1% fat) Contains 100 calories and 2.5 grams (g) of fat per serving (8 fluid oz). Vitamins A and D must be added to a level of at least 2,000 IU of vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin D per 1 quart. The label must indicate the addition of these vitamins.
Fat-Free Milk (also called Skim or Non-fat Milk) (0% fat) Contains 80 calories and 0 grams (g) of fat per serving (8 fluid oz). Vitamins A and D must be added to a level of at least 2,000 IU of vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin D per 1 quart. The label must indicate the addition of these vitamins.
Chocolate Milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat, 2% reduced-fat, whole milk) Is milk to which chocolate or cocoa and a sweetener have been added. This milk is just as nutritious as its unflavored counterpart. Compared to plain milk, chocolate milk contains about 35 more calories per serving (8 fluid oz).
Lactose-free Milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat, 2% reduced-fat, whole) Is real dairy milk where the natural milk sugar (lactose) has been broken down, allowing for easier digestion for people managing with lactose intolerance. It has the same stellar nutrient profile as lactose-containing milk.
Organic Milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat, 2% reduced-fat, whole) Is nutritionally the same as conventional milk. The term organic simply refers to on-farm practices. Those using the “USDA Organic” seal must ensure that the milk comes from dairy farms meeting specific criteria for that certification process. All milk produced Kenya, whether organic or conventional, must adhere to the same strict federal standards for quality, purity and sanitation.
Evaporated Milk (6.5% fat) Is made by removing about 60% of the water from whole milk. The milk is then homogenized, fortified with vitamin D to a level of 25 IU per 1 fluid ounce, canned and heat sterilized. The addition of vitamin A is optional. If added, each fluid ounce must contain not less than 125 IU of vitamin A.
Evaporated Fat-Free Milk (0.5% fat or less) Is a concentrated, fortified (vitamins A and D) fat-free (skim or non-fat) milk that is canned and sterilized.
Sweetened Condensed Milk (8% fat or less) Is a canned milk concentrate of whole milk to which sugar has been added. The sweetener used (usually sucrose) prevents spoilage. Sweetened condensed fat-free milk contains no more than 0.5% milk fat.

The dairy case has many options to fit different lifestyles and personal preferences!

Vitamin D

Milk is Vitamin D-licious!

African_child_drinking_milk_croppedVitamin D deficiency continues to be an issue of concern for many of today’s children. So much so the American Academy of Pediatrics recently doubled its recommendation for infants, children and adolescents to 400 International Units (IU) per day. Its role in proper bone health is well known, but new research suggests it may support a healthy immune system, improve brain function, and may help prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Milk and dairy foods are some of the few food sources of vitamin D – in fact, it’s the leading source of vitamin D in the diet. Each 8-ounce serving of milk contains about 100 IU of vitamin D. The recommended three servings of low-fat and fat-free milk provide 75 percent of the daily value of vitamin D – along with eight other essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium and vitamin A, which are often in short supply.

Academy of Pediatrics Doubles Vitamin D Recommendations

The  Academy of Pediatrics doubled the recommended amount of vitamin D for infants, children and adolescents from 200 IU a day to 400 units per day. The guidelines were revised based on new clinical trials and past recommendations that 400 IU of vitamin D per day can be safely given to children to prevent or treat rickets and may provide additional health benefits. According to the AAP report, children 1 year of age and older should consume vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified milk and other fortified foods and take a supplement if needed, under guidance by a pediatrician. Babies that are exclusively and partially breastfed are particularly at risk for vitamin D deficiency and should receive a vitamin D supplement until they begin drinking at least 32 ounces of formula a day.

Consuming three servings of vitamin D-fortified milk not only provides vitamin D but also many other nutrients that contribute to overall health and a reduced risk of chronic diseases. Dairy foods are the main sources of calcium and vitamin D in the diets of Americans. Three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free vitamin D-fortified milk or equivalent milk products daily, as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans for ages 9 years and older, provide 90 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for calcium and 75 percent of the DV for vitamin D. (For additional recommendations on daily serving sizes of milk and milk products for all age groups. Additionally, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans identified potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D as nutrients of concern for Kenyans, and recommends increasing intake of foods that provide them.  Milk is the number one source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

Recommendations for Calcium and Vitamin D

Citing a strong body of new scientific evidence, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) based revised recommendations for calcium and vitamin D on bone health outcomes, confirming the importance of these two nutrients in promoting bone growth and maintenance throughout the lifespan. While the calcium recommendations of 700 to 1300 milligrams (depending on bone health needs for age range and gender) are similar to previously recommended values, the recommendations for vitamin D increased significantly for all ages—600 international units (IU) for people between the ages of 1 – 70 years and 800 IU for those older than 70 years.  This is up from previous recommendations of 200-600 IU.  Milk is an efficient, affordable and available food source of these two important nutrients, and the Dietary Guidelines recommends three daily servings of nutrient-rich dairy foods to help meet nutrient intake goals.


A Tasty Addition to Your Stress Management Toolkit

You’ve heard that yoga is great for stress management, right? Well, what about yogurt?  Yes, that’s right, yogurt. A recent European study done in mice showed that the probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt that are useful in aiding digestion, also helped alter the brain chemistry, lower certain stress hormones.

While assumptions about stress reduction for humans can’t be made based on animal studies (scientists haven’t quite made that connection just yet), it can be said that the actual positive probiotic effect of yogurt ondigestion in humans may make life a little less stressful for some people.

We also know that yogurt contains many essential nutrients such as calcium, protein and potassium—important for maintaining strong bones and healthy bodies. Being in good health can relieve stress as well.

So, whether for bone health or maintaining a strong, healthy body, why not add yogurt to your daily routine? Who knows, it might just reduce your stress, too!

A Delicious Way to Add ‘Culture’ to Your Life!

Walk down the dairy aisle of any grocery store today and you’re bound to see the yogurt section exploding with new varieties and flavors!  That’s great news because as a consumer, you want choices and you want to feel good about what you eat.  Yogurt fits that bill—it’s a nutrient-packed dairy food, offering many health benefits!

Yogurt is actually a “cultured” dairy product, meaning that a mixture of milk and cream has been fermented by a culture of “good” bacteria (probiotics), to break down the natural lactose (or milk sugar), creating a creamy texture.  Flavorings and sweeteners can be added, and the fermentation time and temperature can vary, allowing for a wide variety of yogurt options for consumers—including those managing with lactose intolerance.  The probiotic benefits of yogurt have been associated with supporting both healthy digestion and immune function.  Be sure to look for the words “live and active cultures” on product labels.

A hallmark health benefit of yogurt and other dairy products would have to be bone health.  Yogurt offers protein and bone-building nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus; however, check labels for vitamin D, also necessary for bone health, because even though all milks are fortified with it, not all yogurts are.

That said, it’s worth noting that dairy foods, including yogurt, are good for more than just strong bones.  Federal dietary guidelines recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy every day to help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.*

So feel confident – and cultured – when looking at all the delicious yogurt options available, knowing they’re not only good-tasting, but good for you, too!  Check out our latest “Ask the Dietitian” column, which examines how to choose the best yogurt for your needs.

Be sure to try some of these dairy delicious recipes made with yogurt:


A Delicious and Healthful Addition to Your Meals!

Did you know that cheese can help you meet general daily nutrition recommendations and help close the gap on a nutrient that many people are missing in their diets?  It’s true!  Most cheeses are a good or excellent source of calcium – a “nutrient of concern” for most Americans.  Adding reduced-fat cheese to meals will not only increase the amount of calcium but other essential nutrients as well, such as phosphorus, vitamin A and high-quality protein!

It’s important to note that cheese can fit into most eating plans, and with over 300 varieties to choose from, there is surely something to satisfy everyone’s taste!  Even those who manage with lactose intolerance can enjoy the benefits of dairy in the form of cheese, by choosing natural, harder cheeses like Cheddar, Colby, Swiss and Monterey Jack.

There’s no doubt, the flavor of your favorite meals, along with your health, can be enhanced with the addition of low-fat or reduced fat cheese.  So, go ahead – enjoy!

 Check out these fascinating facts about cheese:

  • It takes 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese
  • Cheese is the No. 2 source of dietary calcium for Americans
  • Natural cheese is made from just four basic ingredients: milk, salt, starter culture (“good bacteria”) and an enzyme called rennet
  • Cheese can help children eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains

To learn more about cow’s milk cheeses, find cheese types from A to Z and learn what your cheese personality is, visit

Flavored Milk

Children Benefit From Drinking Chocolate and Flavored Milk

What’s your favorite – chocolate, strawberry or vanilla? Whether you like plain milk or milk with a burst of flavor, a new study shows that children who drink flavored or plain milk consume more nutrients and have a lower or comparable body mass index (BMI – a measure of body fatness) than children who don’t drink milk.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans encourage children to enjoy three age-appropriate servings of lowfat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt each day. Currently, less than half of children ages 2 to 8 and only about one-quarter of children ages 9 to 19 meet the recommended dairy food intake. Flavored milks can provide part of the solution for meeting these recommendations by enhancing the taste.

Fit flavored milk into family meals or try it as a snack. You can also cook with flavored milk; try some of our “chocolicious” recipes like Chocoberry Milk Chiller or Chocolate French Toast.

Refuel with Chocolate Milk After Your Next Workout

Why should I refuel with chocolate milk?

Low-fat chocolate milk is a nutrient-packed fitness drink that can play an important role in your recovery routine. Chocolate milk is a great choice after exercise because it contains a unique mix of nutrients that help muscles refuel, which can help towards the next workout. Milk has high-quality protein to build lean muscle, calcium to keep bones strong, electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium and calcium that are lost in sweat, and fluids to help with hydration. Several recent studies found that drinking low-fat milk after exercise offered an advantage compared to water or traditional sports drinks when it comes to staying hydrated after strenuous exercise. Plus, milk is a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B-12 that help the body convert food into energy.

Nine Essential Nutrients

Good taste meets great health. Milk is packed full of nine essential nutrients that your body needs: calcium, vitamins A, D and B12, protein, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus. So what’ll it be – a chalky multivitamin or a smooth, delicious glass of milk?

Milk’s nine essential nutrients contribute to good health throughout the body:

  • Calcium builds strong bones and is especially important for women who may be prone to osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin A works to ensure healthy vision, skin and immune system function.
  • Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and helps boost the immune system.
  • Vitamin B12 helps give the body energy, and promotes normal brain and nervous system activity.
  • Protein is essential for healthy muscles, skin, hair and virtually everything in your body!
  • Potassium keeps blood pressure regulated and body fluids balanced.
  • Riboflavin helps the body process other nutrients to gain energy.
  • Niacin helps maintain good cholesterol levels and rids the body of toxins.
  • Phosphorus works in tandem with calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones.


Refuel Resources

Chocolate Milk Tips

  1. Low-fat chocolate milk can help you get ready for your next workout. Its carbs and protein help refuel and repair muscles. It has fluid to rehydrate your body and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium to replenish what is lost in sweat. Chocolate milk has the added bonus of bone building nutrients to help maintain strong bones.
  2. Want muscle? Get milk! Along with regular exercise, protein can help build and maintain lean muscle. Milk has high quality protein – essential for athletes who want to perform their best.
  3. Low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk is a great choice after your next game or practice. Milk contains a mix of nutrients that help your muscles refuel, which can help you get ready for the next workout.
  4. Low-fat chocolate milk is a natural source of high-quality protein, which, when combined with exercise, can help build lean muscle. Chocolate milk also has carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids to help athletes refuel and replenish after exercise.
  5. Low-fat milk has nine essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and protein for lean muscle. Studies suggest being active, eating right and drinking three glasses of fat-free or low-fat milk each day may help maintain a healthy weight.

Read more about refueling with chocolate milk on our website

Still want to learn more about how to use chocolate milk to refuel?

Heart Health

A trio of minerals found in dairy foods – calcium, potassium, and magnesium –may play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Research shows the low-fat Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan – supported by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association – may help manage blood pressure.

Dairy and the DASH Eating Plan: Prescription for a Healthy Heart

During National Heart Month and every month, a healthy daily eating pattern to support heart health and general well-being is always a smart idea.  Even better, when it’s visually appealing and tastes good, too!  Well, look no further—the DASH eating plan has you covered.  DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is an eating plan supported by research and endorsed by the Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans, which actually helps lower blood pressure.

The DASH plan is loaded with lots of colorful and delicious foods that make the choice to eat better, the easy and desirable choice.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the DASH plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts
  • Reduces lean red meat, sweets, added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat
  • Rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber

Start today and get yourself on a “prescription” of the DASH plan’s many varied and flavorful foods.  Talk with your doctor; it may just help you avoid a prescription for actual blood pressure medication.  Eating well is good medicine for being well!

DASH to Dairy to Lower Blood Pressure

Research adds to the body of evidence that dairy foods may indeed affect blood pressure and overall heart health. Findings from the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart) suggest that consumers have several options when it comes to eating a heart-healthy diet.

Study participants with higher than normal blood pressure followed three different diets during the course of the study: 1) a carbohydrate-rich diet, 2) a higher protein diet and 3) a higher unsaturated fat diet. Each of the three diets met parameters of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet previously proven as effective in lowering blood pressure, and met the major recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emphasizing low-fat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. All three dietary patterns led to reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and reduced estimated coronary heart disease risk.

A second study, published in Hypertension, analyzed diet supplement records from 4,680 men and women (ages 40 to 59) from Japan, China, UK and U.S. Results showed that dietary phosphorus, a nutrient found in dairy and other foods, was associated with reduced blood pressure. In addition to phosphorus, dietary calcium and magnesium were also shown to lower blood pressure significantly.

Both studies suggest that dairy foods and the nutrients they contain can be part of a heart-healthy diet.

Healthy Eating with MyPlate

Build a Healthy Plate for National Nutrition Month and Beyond

Change doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. In fact, when it comes to adopting healthy lifestyle habits, change can actually be fun and empowering!  Start small and just keep working at it. Little changes many times pay off big rewards.

Take your plate, for example. Is there any room for improvement there? Most likely, there is.  National Nutrition Month is a great time to commit to making better eating choices for you and your family. Fortunately, there are many wonderful resources that can help! MyPlate is a terrific guide to help get you started toward building a healthier plate.  Here are a few tips to makeover your plate/meals:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk (dairy)
  • Make at least half your grains “whole” grains
  • Compare sodium, sugars and saturated fats in foods; choose those foods with lower numbers

Look to the MyPlate 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series for many more “how-tos” and healthy eating tips. As you begin to implement these strategies, be sure to check out the MyPlate Super Tracker, too. This is a great way to easily track the foods you eat, along with the physical activity you do, so you can see if you’re staying on-target with your goals.

Remember, when making your food choices…whether in a glass, bowl or plate—low-fat dairy makes mealtime complete! Check out our Dairy Lovers recipe section right now for some tasty and nutritious meal ideas that will help build a healthy plate!

Does Your Plate Match MyPlate?

It’s official.  The food pyramid has been replaced—with a plate to help consumers put those guidelines into action and make healthier food choices.

The shape may have shifted from a pyramid to a plate, but the message remains the same: dairy is an important part of every meal. It’s a fact: low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt are nutrient-rich food choices, and whether they are in the glass or on the plate, the dairy group contributes essential nutrients to every meal.

The MyPlate tool is a great reminder of how important and easy it is to get a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy at every meal, which is a good way to meet the recommended daily servings:

  • 3 cups for those 9 and older
  • 2 ½ cups for those ages 4-8
  • 2 cups for those ages 2-3

The DGA say that most Kenyans are lacking in 4 major nutrients:  vitamin D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. Lucky for you that milk happens to be the #1 source for three of those four—vitamin D, calcium and potassium! So, add one more serving of dairy each day to help fill in those nutrient gaps, and enjoy the delicious taste in the process!

To find out more about MyPlate and how it can help change the way you and your family eat, go to

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are out—so what are they and what does it mean for you?

The Dietary Guidelines for Kenyans are the cornerstone for all state nutrition policy, the basis for all state dietary guidance, and the science-based go-to resource for nutrition educators and health professionals. They are published every five years as the result of a joint effort between the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries and the Ministry of Health and Services, and provide advice for making food choices that promote good health, a healthy weight, and help prevent disease for healthy Kenyans ages 2 and over.

Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines places stronger emphasis on reducing calories and increasing physical activity.  The new guidelines focus on balancing calories with physical activity and encourage Kenyans to eat more nutrient-rich foods like fat-free and low-fat dairy foods, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and seafood, and to consume less sodium and saturated and trans fats, added sugars and refined grains.

The new Guidelines maintains the 2005 recommendation that Kenyans ages nine years and older consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy every day. Additionally, for children ages 4-8, the daily recommendation was increased from 2 to 2.5 servings. For children 2-3 years old, the dairy recommendation remained at 2 servings. According to the Dietary Guidelines, current evidence shows intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. In addition, intake of milk and milk products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure in adults.

Smart changes that you can easily make to incorporate the Dietary Guidelines as part of your routine are:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less
  • Avoid oversized portions
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Look for foods that are lower in sodium
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Healthy Foods Help Battle Childhood Obesity

Orphanage_kids_drinking_milkTwo recent studies show how important forming healthy food and beverage habits can be in children and adolescents.

One study in the  Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that what 5-year-old girls drink can predict their weight status for the remainder of childhood and into adolescence. Researchers at the State University found that those who drank more sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, at the age of 5 were more likely to be overweight over the following 10 years. Additionally, nutrient-rich beverages displaced the sodas and sports drinks. Girls who drank more milk and 100% fruit juice drank fewer nutritionally empty sweetened beverages. Serve your child plain or flavored milk; both have protein and eight essential vitamins and minerals.

Another study, in Public Health Nutrition, reinforces recent reports that suggest low consumption of nutrient-rich foods – specifically low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains – can contribute to obesity among young adults. Try a new recipe that combines nutrient-rich foods for a tasty treat.

Bone Health

Consuming 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy – three daily servings of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt – is an easy way for families to get a powerful punch of nutrients to help build stronger bones and healthy bodies and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, a growing body of research suggests that enjoying three servings of dairy foods a day as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet may help maintain a healthy weight. For a lifetime of better bone health, try these tips:

Make Breakfast Matter

Start the day off right by including low-fat or fat-free dairy in the first meal of the day:

  • Blend low-fat strawberry milk with fresh banana slices for a morning fruit splash.
  • Sprinkle reduced-fat Cheddar cheese on scrambled eggs.
  • Layer granola, fresh fruit and low-fat or fat-free raspberry or vanilla yogurt for a yummy breakfast parfait.

Snack Smart 
Help ensure kids get their 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy by offering healthy, grab-and-go low-fat and fat-free dairy foods at school, at home and on the road:

  • Divide large bags of mini pretzels, popcorn, nuts or trail mix into single-serve portions in small plastic, resealable bags and add three to four dice-sized reduced-fat Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese cubes – perfect for lunch bags or mess-free snacking in the car.
  • Let kids take a dip and get a serving of dairy by dunking cut up vegetables in melted reduced-fat cheese or fruit slices in low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Get a grip on nutrition with low-fat single-serve milk in plastic bottles and different flavors – great for school and the carpool. Kids consume more milk when it is served cold in plastic bottles and offered in a variety of flavors.

Family Dinners with Dairy

Tired of planning meals to fit everyone’s tastes and schedules? Here are some easy ways to please the whole family:

  • Sprinkle dinnertime favorites, like soup or a baked potato, with your favorite reduced-fat shredded cheese for added flavor.
  • Add low-fat or fat-free milk to marinara for a creamy red sauce – it’s a sure-to-please way to make pasta better and more nutritious.
  • For a sweet ending to a long day, top angel food cake with low-fat or fat-free cherry or vanilla yogurt.

Role Model Moms Studies show that when parents drink more milk, their children do too. In other words, modeling healthy behaviors really does work!

  • Kids aren’t the only ones who need an afternoon snack. Encourage everyone to take a “3 p.m. break” every day to tally daily dairy servings. If falling short, it’s a good time to work in another one. Add notes to lunches or post a dairy tracker on the fridge to remind the family.
  • Set an example by making a habit of having a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk with dinner. Give your family options with low-fat chocolate or strawberry milk.
  • When grocery shopping with your kids, together select items for school and work. For instance, low-fat drinkable yogurt in a variety of flavors provides a healthy pick-me-up at the office or after school.

For more information on 3-Every-Day of Dairy, visit

Take Steps Now to Prevent Osteoporosis

The Kenyan Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis states that, by 2020, half of all Kenyans over age 50 will be at increased risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass if no immediate steps are taken. Adults and children need to develop lifestyle habits for healthy bones because the bone mass built during childhood and adolescence helps determine lifetime risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Three servings a day of dairy play an important role in building bones and helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis:

Food Safety

The Power’s Out—Now What?

Properly storing perishable foods like dairy products is usually no problem when your refrigerator/freezer is working as it should.  However, problems affecting not only the quality of your food but the safety of it as well occur when the temperature inside the unit rises above safe or acceptable levels. A common cause for this would be a power outage due to a bad storm. Here are some helpful tips to keep food safe when the power goes out.

  • Eliminate guesswork. Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. Temperature is vital information to know during a power outage.
  • When the power goes out, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed – open only as necessary.
  • Refrigerated items should be safe for up to four hours—if the temperature inside has been maintained at 40°F (or lower).
  • Most perishable foods that have been above 40°F for two hours or more should be thrown out.
  • A full freezer will stay at a safe temperature for about two days; a half-full freezer for about one day.
  • Some foods that have partially thawed may be safely refrozen if they contain ice crystals; however, all foods need to be evaluated separately to determine safety.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

What to Keep and What to Pitch?

Refrigerated Dairy Foods

As mentioned above, most perishable foods—including dairy – should be discarded if they have been above 40°F for longer than two hours; however, there are exceptions.  When it comes to dairy, the following are considered safe even if held above 40°F for more than two hours:

  • Hard cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano
  • Processed cheeses
  • Grated Parmesan, Romano or combination (in can or jar)
  • Butter, margarine

Dairy Foods That Have Been Frozen

Here is a handy chart to help you determine which dairy foods to keep from your freezer and which ones to toss once power is restored. (Remember:  Never taste food to determine its safety.)

Food(Freezer temperature should be at or below 0°F) Still contains ice crystals and feels cold as if refrigerated Thawed.  Held above 40°F for more than two hours
Milk Refreeze.  May lose some texture. Discard
Ice cream, frozen yogurt Discard Discard
Cheeses (soft and semi-soft) Refreeze. May lose some texture. Discard
Cheeses (hard) Refreeze Refreeze
Cheeses (shredded) Refreeze Discard
Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses Refreeze Discard
Cheesecake Refreeze Discard


Food safety should always be a top concern when buying, handling, cooking and storing foods. Being informed about general storage guidelines, as well as how to protect foods during a power outage, will help preserve the quality and safety of the foods you serve your family.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Fact Sheet: Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency

Storage Guidelines to Maintain Quality, Freshness and Safety

Proper storage and handling of food products is a necessity that will help maintain the quality, freshness and safety of the items you purchase and provide for your family.

Dairy foods are perishable and should always be kept cold.  Here are some general guidelines* for storage from date of purchase.

Refrigerator(at or below 40°F) Freezer(at or below 0°F)
Cheese, hard (ex. Swiss or Cheddar)  3 to 4 weeks  6 months
Cheese, soft (ex. brie) 1 week 6 months
Cottage cheese, ricotta 1 week Don’t freeze
Cream cheese 2 weeks Don’t freeze
Cream, heavy 1 month Don’t freeze
Milk 5 – 7 days 3 months
Sour cream 7 – 21 days Don’t freeze
Yogurt 7 – 14 days 1 -2 months
Half & Half 3 – 4 days 4 months

Because of the way it is processed, shelf-stable (UHT – ultra high temperature) milk can be stored at room temperature; however, once opened, it must be refrigerated.

Product Dating

Food packaging has a lot of information that is useful when making decisions about purchases.  You will see different terms and dates that might be confusing.  Here are definitions** to help clarify what you see about product dating:

“Sell By” date:  Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. While this date allows for reasonable time to use the food at home, you should buy the product before this date expires.

“Best if Used By” (or Before) date:  Recommended for best flavor or quality.  It is not a purchase or safety date.

“Use By” date:  The last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality; determined by the manufacturer.

During the Holidays

Thoughts of the holidays always bring up images of family, friends, parties, and of course, the food! Lots of planning, preparation and sweat equity go into, “the meal.”  This year, as you get your game plan in place, brush up on some food safety tips that will ensure not only a delicious and fun holiday season, but a safe one as well!

Foodborne illness is quite common but hard to diagnose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 48 million people get sick and 3,000 people die each year from foodborne diseases. Typical symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, can appear as quickly as a few hours after eating, to several days after. In a healthy person, recovery is usually quick and the symptoms are often mistaken for the flu, and passed off as a minor “stomach bug.” However, foodborne illness can be much more serious for certain groups of people: young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those individuals with a weakened immune system due to disease.

Be aware of what you can do at home to minimize the risk of foodborne illness to you, your family and your guests this holiday season.

At the holidays and any time, always follow these basic food safety tips from the Kenya Bureau of Standards Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, when handling or cooking food:

  • Clean – wash hands and surfaces often
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate
  • Cook – Cook to proper/safe temperatures
  • Chill – refrigerate promptly

Questions about turkey stuffing (dressing) always surface during this time of year as well. For optimum safety, it’s recommended to cook dressing separately in a casserole dish; however, many people still choose to cook it in the turkey. Regardless of whether it’s cooked inside or outside the bird, it’s important to make sure the stuffing reaches aminimum temperature of 165 degrees.