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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Breakfast in the Classroom is an initiative aiming to ensure students have access to a nutritious meal each morning. Originally tested at a single elementary school in Rutherford County, after one year the school reported its highest test scores to date.
This fall the program will launch in three additional elementary schools, of which more than half of the students are enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program. The menu will focus on nutritious options such as dairy, whole grains, and fruits.
Growing professionally, and personally, typically involves change.
Read more about my role as the newest dairy dietitian with The Dairy Alliance.
A collection of stories related to my work as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with The Dairy Alliance. Views are my own.