Currently, the average food bank recipient receives less than one gallon of milk per year. However, to meet the recommended three servings of milk each day, they need more than 1 gallon per week. Milk is naturally nutrient-rich, containing nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per serving and three of the four nutrients missing in the diet of most Americans– calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Nutrition-related illnesses are more prevalent in food insecure households. One third of households utilizing food banks has a family member living with diabetes and 58% of food bank clients report high blood pressure. Research shows three servings of milk each day can help maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. According to Feeding America, 79% of food insecure households report purchasing cheaper, unhealthy food to provide enough to eat for their families. Milk, yogurt and cheese are affordable sources of high-quality protein. In fact, each serving of milk only costs about a quarter.
Food banks are beginning to address the dairy deficiency at their facilities, which has led to the launch of a program called Milk2MyPlate. This program is working to bring food banks and milk suppliers together with a common goal to provide a consistent supply of fresh milk to those who need it most. September 7th is National Food Bank Day, and you can show your support by taking the #10GallonChallenge! Donate 10 gallons of milk to a local food bank near you, and together we can help end hunger.
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A collection of stories related to my work as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with The Dairy Alliance.
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