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Scream for Ice Cream

Posted by Teresa Wagner, MS, RD, LD @ 3:12 PM

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Whoever coined the phrase, “as American as baseball and apple pie” got it wrong―wrong unless that apple pie was à la mode.

As a young child, my first words were, “Here comes daddy with the ice cream cones.” Probably not that plainly, but importantly, those were my first words. To me, there is nothing like the creamy, cold sensation and rich taste of ice cream on the tongue or the way it feels as it gently slips through your mouth and down your throat and settles quite happily into your stomach. With all of the flavors and varieties available today, I cannot imagine that there is one person in this country who does not love ice cream. My favorite happens to be peanut butter cup smothered in hot chocolate, but my younger daughter prefers homemade vanilla straight from the carton. My older daughter prefers frozen yogurt from one of the new shops popping up all over the country covered with a bizarre combination of toppings. While I know this is not technically ice cream, frozen yogurt is still a rich, creamy frozen dessert made from wholesome dairy ingredients.

I think it’s fitting that July is National Ice Cream Month—the same month as the birth of our country. What is more American than that coincidence? Not to mention the fact that America’s dairy farmers work hard every day to provide us with these culinary delights. Without our dairy farmers, not only would we miss out on our ice cream, but what would we do without cheese for our macaroni, milk for our meals, yogurt for our parfaits and the many other dairy foods we, as Americans, have come to love and cherish as a part of our lives and traditions? It is this variety of dairy foods that help us to meet our recommended servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy at each meal on the USDA’s recently launched MyPlate icon.

Last year, I had the opportunity to watch my local baseball team, the Texas Rangers, go to the World Series. That’s quite American and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Luckily, I can enjoy a little scoop of America in my cup and savor the fruits of my American dairy farmers’ labor every day if I want.

As a registered dietitian, I know that the American Dietetic Association maintains that we should enjoy all foods in moderation. Therefore, I move that we change the phrase to, “as American as baseball and apple pie à la mode,” and then head out to our local ice cream shop to celebrate our American heritage for National Ice Cream Month with a scoop of our favorite frozen dairy delight!

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