Dairy meets our family’s needs

Last night I went to grocery store for my weekly shopping trip and filled my cart with several dairy items, including 6 gallons of milk. With so many options in the dairy case, there’s something for every member of my family.

One thing that always puzzled me was the color of milk caps. I know the brand of milk we buy uses a red cap for whole milk, dark blue for 2%, and light blue for 1%. I thought that was standard until I bought a different brand one day. I looked at the cap color, not the label, so thought I was getting 1% milk. The next morning, I filled my glass, took a deep swig, and quickly realized I’d bought skim milk. It was then I learned cap color isn’t standardized but depends on the bottling plant’s preference. The moral of that story is to always read the label before you buy milk.

Speaking of skim milk, what is the difference in fat content of milk on the shelf? Skim milk has no fat. Then you have 1% fat, 2% fat, and finally whole milk, which has 3.25% fat. I’m not sure why milk is labeled according to fat content since I can’t think of another food that’s labeled that way – if all food were, we might all make different food choices.

Whichever milk you choose, you are getting a fresh, affordable source of nutrients.  I was surprised to learn milk is a natural source of protein, which helps build strong muscles. It’s also a source of calcium. Three servings of milk (one serving equals 8 fluid ounces) equals the same amount of calcium in 17 cups of kale.  My kids would much rather drink three glasses of milk!   

Milk also has eight other essential nutrients, so it nourishes our entire body. All milk has the same standard nutrient profile, regardless of brand, although flavored milk will be different. We need these nutrients at all stages of life, meaning every sip counts. 

Almost 97% of the dairy farms in the United States are family owned. Milk goes from the cow to the shelf within 48 hours, so it’s one of the freshest items in the store. It costs around 25¢ per 8-ounce glass, making it an affordable source of high-quality nutrition.

There are many options in the dairy case. In the next few posts I’m going to explore the other options, including lactose-free milk, plant-based beverages, and other dairy foods.   

What dairy items are in your cart?

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