June: Saluting America's dairy farmers
By By meagan Scott / 4-H summer intern
June 9, 2002
Summertime is the perfect time to pull out your ice cream freezer and rock salt and make your favorite rich and creamy homemade ice cream.
Actually, if you are like me, then anytime is the right time for ice cream. Although homemade is the best kind, I can't think of a single flavor out of all Baskin Robbins' 31 flavors that I don't like. Mint chocolate chip, pistachio, butter pecan, cookie dough are a few of my favorites.
What better month than June to designate as Dairy Month. This year marks its 65th annual celebration. Dairy Month is our opportunity to salute America's dairy farmers who work 24 hour a day seven days a week to produce fresh, wholesome milk and milk products for us all. It is also a time to encourage the use of dairy foods throughout the entire month.
When was the last time you sat down with an ice-cold glass of milk? Sounds good, doesn't it? Some parents may be wishing their children would think so as they try everything they can to get their children to drink milk.
Children may even "doctor up" their milk by swirling in chocolate syrup. Don't worry parents, because dietitians at the Southeast Dairy Association tell us that chocolate milk is good for you. In fact, the theme for Dairy Month is "Got Chocolate Milk?" a salute to all of the new varieties and sizes of flavored milks now available in the grocery stores.
Some people still can't believe a drink as tasty and as sweet-tooth satisfying as chocolate milk actually can be good for you. In fact, an Impulse Research Inc. survey of 1,007 parents in 2000 showed 7 percent either serve their children chocolate milk or only serve it as a special treat.
But last year a survey of pediatricians showed 87 percent endorse low fat or fat-free chocolate milk as a nutritious beverage for children. In light of the fact that children today aren't even getting half of the calcium they need, drinking chocolate milk is one of the best ways for kids to work this essential nutrient into their daily diets.
Children need about three to four servings of milk or other dairy foods each day. While the taste of chocolate milk appeals to kids, it's the nutrition label that should appeal to parents. Chocolate milk provides the same nine essential nutrients important for good health and growth that white milk does calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and niacin.
While kids are filling up on more and more soft drinks and sugary fruit drinks these days, it's time to reintroduce them to tasty and nutritious chocolate milk.
To get the story straight on chocolate milk, the Southeast Dairy Association gives us the facts about the following myths:
Myth: Chocolate milk has loads of sugar and causes cavities.
Fact: The calcium, phosphorus and cocoa in chocolate milk make it less likely to contribute to cavities than regular sugar or other snacks, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Myth: Chocolate milk contains more sugar than soda and juice drinks.
Fact: Chocolate milk has two fewer teaspoons of table sugar per 8-ounce serving than soft drinks and less sugar than juice drinks.
Myth: Chocolate milk has too much caffeine for kids.
Fact: The amount of caffeine in chocolate milk is similar to the amount found in decaffeinated drinks. Soft drinks contain up to 10 times more caffeine than chocolate milk.
Remember that dairy products are essential for building strong bones and maintaining good health. For more information about Dairy Month or to learn more about creative ways to prepare dairy products, call your local County Extension Office. In Lauderdale County, the number is 482-9764.
Remember, on that next lazy summer afternoon, why not reach for a refreshing tall glass of cold, frothy chocolate milk? And when your family asks, "Got Milk?" you can smile at them with your chocolate "milk mustache" and say, "Got Chocolate Milk."
4-H Fun Day will be at Bonita Lakes on June 13 from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be lots of nature activities for youth ages 5-18. To register, call the Lauderdale County Extension Office at 482-9764.