Then to Now: A Look at the Progress of School Nutrition

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 7:31 AM


“Ideally, a school lunch consists of one nourishing main dish, a glass or two of milk, fruit or vegetable in some form, bread and butter or a sandwich, and a simple dessert.”

– Excerpt from School Lunches Using Farm Surpluses; USDA; September 1940

School nutrition programs have a long standing history. This excerpt demonstrates that the core components of school nutrition have remained marginally unchanged for over 75 years. Milk has been an integral component of the school nutrition programs from the start.

Let’s explore how school nutrition has progressed over time, but still remains the same at its core: an avenue to nourish our children so they can grow up to be healthy and productive citizens. Read the rest of this entry »

NDC will Explore, Discover and Inspire in Salt Lake City in July

Posted by Camellia Patey @ 7:53 AM


It’s July. The nation celebrates our independence on the 4th and many are taking vacations, but for those of us that work in school nutrition, it means it’s almost time for the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (SNA’s ANC). National Dairy Council (NDC) looks forward to continuing our centennial celebration with those attending ANC in Salt Lake City from July 12 – 15, 2015 through the conference theme of Explore. Discover. Inspire.

DMI_NDC_7.6_SNAConference_TDR Read the rest of this entry »

Tough Workout? No Sweat, Milk’s Got You Covered

Posted by Matthew Pikosky, PhD, RD, FACN @ 7:10 AM


The 4th of July weekend is a time when people celebrate our nation’s independence. Backyard BBQs, whiffle ball games and evening fireworks are just some of the things that make this holiday a summer stand-out. For cycling enthusiasts worldwide, this July 4th also marks the kick-off of arguably the most grueling sporting event known to man: the 102nd edition of the Tour de France.


This epic 23-day race consists of 21 day-long stages covering a total of ~2,200 miles. The athlete in me is truly amazed by the power, endurance and sheer determination these cyclists display, pushing their bodies beyond what many of us believe is physically possible. The dietitian in me is almost equally amazed in what is needed to fuel them on a daily basis. During the Tour, cyclists burn an average of 700 calories per hour while riding and eat between 4,000 – 9,000 calories per day. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Grilling: 5 Tips to Keep It Delectable and Safe

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 10:55 AM


Close your eyes and imagine a warm sunny day with white puffy clouds in the sky and the aroma of chicken and burgers barbecuing wafting through the air. What better way to spend a summer day than relaxing with friends, savoring some mouthwatering barbeque and washing it down with some ice cold lemonade? Yep, grilling season is in full swing.

With this fun also brings the concern of potential food poisoning. Warm temperatures plus cooked meats or other perishable foods (think milk, yogurt or mayo-based salads) can equal a perfect, yet dangerous environment for bacteria to multiply. As health and wellness professionals, we want to keep the memories of barbecuing positive and prevent visits to the emergency room because of spoiled food.


Here are five tips to keep in mind to help your clients/patients have a safe and tasty grilling season.

  1. Keep it clean. Start with a clean grill, utensils and hands. Wash each in soapy hot water to help reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. Be sure to wash your hands and utensils after touching raw meats. Not too keen on washing your cooking utensils frequently? Keep an extra set of tools on hand.
  1. Separate for Success. Raw + cooked = a precarious combination. Keep multiple platters and utensils at your grill-side to prevent cross-contamination. One set can be for raw items and the other can be for cooked. Color coding can help you remember which set is for raw vs. cooked.
  1. Gauge it. Raise your hand if you ever “eye-balled” your sausage or burger and thought it was done. Guilty here. Undercooked meats can be harmful. Keep this handy at-a-glance Grilling Guide on hand to ensure your barbecue fare is fit to eat. More of a visual and audio learner? Watch this quick video to know when your food is done.
  1. Ice, ice baby. What fun would the festivities be without your favorite potato salad or dip? With the warm summer temps, these cold foods can quickly warm up into the danger zone (above 40⁰F). Be sure to pack plenty of ice or ice packs to keep these foods cool. Use a food thermometer to check temperatures periodically. Toss food that has been sitting out for over two hours or one hour in temps over 90⁰F. When in doubt, throw it out.
  1. Change up the combinations. Variety is the spice of life. Try these unique appetizing combinations at your next barbecue.

May your next grilling affair be filled with joy, laughter and (safe) fabulous food. Cheers!

The Science Supporting Dairy’s Role in Bone Health

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:35 AM


We review a lot of research and help translate it for fellow health and wellness professionals and educators working with the public. As we do this, it is important to frame up each new study within the broader body of science on a given topic. Here’s how a recent study fits within the totality of the evidence on bone health.

A paper published last fall in the British Medical Journal was an observational study based on two large groups of Swedish men and women, and results associated drinking three or more glasses of milk per day with greater risk of mortality and higher risk of fractures. Studies of this nature show correlations vs. causation and add to the growing discovery.

The impact of milk, and the nutrients it provides, on bone has been well documented by an extensive body of peer-reviewed research, including randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of scientific research) — more details can be found in this research summary.

The authors of this study hypothesized that since milk contains D-galactose (when lactose is digested it is split into its component sugars glucose and galactose), which has been shown to increase oxidative stress and aging in animal studies, that milk consumption will be associated with oxidative stress, higher mortality and increased risk of fracture.

When you look at this study through the lens of the total body of evidence and standards of practice, there are considerations when communicating the results:


Read the rest of this entry »

Portion Distortion: Size Does Matter

Posted by Nicole Diego @ 7:00 AM


Kristin Schrieber, MS, RDN, LDN, helped support Nicole Diego, Dietetic Intern, MBA Candidate at Dominican University, on this post.

As a dietetic intern, for years I have known the importance of portion control. It has been encouraged since the United States Department of Agriculture released the first food guide in 1916. Although it’s not a groundbreaking concept, learning how to portion control is more vital than ever.

For the first time in history, the amount Americans spend on dining out overtook grocery store purchases in March, according to Commerce Department data. This spike in spending may reflect the eating habits of the emerging Millennial generation as they are more willing to spend on “food away from home.” As stated by the National Restaurant Association, “Millennials view dining out as a social event (i.e., a chance to connect),” which explains their willingness to spend more at restaurants versus buying groceries and cooking at home.

DMI_NDC_6.25_PortionControl_TDR Read the rest of this entry »

The School Nutrition Event of the Year: ANC Salt Lake City

Posted by Emily Mannel @ 11:29 AM


The School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) is just around the corner: July 12-15, 2015 in Salt Lake City. Attendees will learn, network and share over an exciting four days. ANC brings education and networking opportunities for all kinds of school nutrition stakeholders – operators, industry professionals, partner organizations, food and nutrition advocates, and more.

Education and pre-con sessions will touch on various topics related to school meal programs like nutrition, meal patterns, community eligibility, summer feeding, marketing, procurement, trends, and encouraging healthy choices. There will also be a keynote presentation with NFL alum Howie Long and a closing event performance by country stars Big & Rich!

Over 800 exhibitors, including National Dairy Council (NDC), will be sharing all the newest products, services, and updates with attendees as well. The District Directors’ section meeting, sponsored by NDC, will address nutrition mythbusting and combating misconceptions around school meals – a can’t-miss event for any school nutrition director!

Learn more and register at

What is the Role of Dairy Foods in the Mediterranean Eating Pattern?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:52 AM


As you know, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasized nutrient-dense eating patterns to help meet nutrient recommendations within calorie needs. The emphasis on eating patterns has continued with the submission of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report in February to HHS/USDA, which serves as scientific guidance from the Committee for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for release later this year. For the first time, the 2015 DGAC included a chapter focused solely on the relationship between eating patterns (i.e., Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian and Mediterranean) and health outcomes.

More research on the role of a variety of dairy foods in dietary patterns, including the Mediterranean diet, would increase understanding and appreciation of the role of dairy foods in healthy eating. Read the rest of this entry »

Join the Mooovement on June 16

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 10:10 AM


It’s June. School is out and the long awaited summer break is finally here for America’s children. However, with schools being closed, more than 22 million children may miss out on milk’s nutrition in the summer months when they don’t have access to free or reduced-price meal programs such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Although some programs like the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) help to deliver meals when school is not in session, food banks play an even more critical role during the summer in helping children access nutritious foods. America’s dairy farmers and milk companies are on a mission this summer to bring more wholesome, nutritious milk to children in need through The Great American Milk Drive.


June is National Dairy Month, and what better time to step up the momentum of milk donations to food banks this summer. On June 16, The Great American Milk Drive is challenging America to a one-day Social Media Milk Drive to help double the amount of milk donated. Here’s how you can help:  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s June Dairy Month and We’re Celebrating 100 Years of Dairy Science and Education!

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:00 AM


For 100 years, on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy community, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to nutrition research and education. NDC helped launch programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Great American Milk Drive to benefit both children and adults. I am excited to be part of the team helping to continue NDC’s proud tradition.

I am also celebrating my 23rd year at NDC. Looking back, I realize that though many things have changed, some have remained constant.

When I joined NDC back in 1992, USDA had just introduced the Food Guide Pyramid to replace the Basic Four food group guide, which had been in place since 1956. This was a big change, and the nutrition community was buzzing with what this might mean for educating people about healthy eating. In 2005 a new iteration of MyPyramid was introduced, Steps to a Healthier You. It featured people walking up the steps on one side of the Pyramid to emphasize the need for physical activity. Then in 2011, MyPyramid was replaced with MyPlate, to visually demonstrate how to build a healthy plate at meal time using all the food groups, including dairy foods. Read the rest of this entry »