(Family Features) Many people are taking advantage of warmer temperatures and increased hours of sunlight to get fit and ready for the summer. As they dive into new exercise regimens, hit the practice fields or take to hiking trails, they will be looking for ways to fuel their efforts. Enter dairy, a protein powerhouse that provides numerous benefits to active individuals. Dairy protein can help build and repair muscle, strengthen the immune system, regulate metabolism and keep you satisfied longer. Also, dairy foods are a tasty, convenient and cost-effective way to power up with protein throughout the day.
Easy Protein Add-ons
According to the Institute of Medicine, 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories should come from protein. This translates to about 50 to 175 grams per day of a 2,000 calorie diet. When you consider that one serving of milk, cheese or yogurt provides approximately 8 grams of high quality protein (meaning it includes all essential amino acids), and that these foods fit easily into meals or snacks, it is plain to see how dairy foods can help you meet your protein needs and fitness goals.
Note: Calorie needs differ per individual, see choosemyplate.gov for guidelines.
For additional recipes, and to learn more about dairy protein and the other eight essential nutrients dairy foods provide, visit DairyMakesSense.com.
To power up with dairy, try these protein-packed tips:
- Cool Down with Chocolate Milk - Reach for low-fat chocolate milk after a workout. The protein it provides supports healthy muscles and the carbohydrate refuels energy.
- Cut Back with Cheese - Grab a slice, wedge or stick when you need something to tide you over between meals. The protein in cheese can curb hunger, which makes it a great tool for weight management.
- Count on Yogurt - Enjoy this versatile food at any time of day. Double up on protein with Greek yogurt, which often contains twice the amount as regular yogurt.
- Go with Whey -Boost your intake by adding whey protein in powder form to smoothies, shakes, coffee, cereal, yogurt, soup, sauces, dips and baked goods. This amazing protein source is found naturally in milk.
- Bank on Breakfast - Space your protein intake throughout the day to help maximize its benefits. Start the morning off right with a protein-rich beverage, such as this Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Shake.
Recipe: Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Shake
- 1 cup fat-free or 1% low-fat chocolate milk
- 1/2 cup frozen bananas, sliced
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth and creamy. Serve in tall glass or to-go drink container.
Makes: 1 serving