19, June 2015 4:24 PM

As part of on ongoing efforts to elevate the health of children and parents in California through the pursuit of healthy eating habits, Dairy Council of California is proud once again to join health educators, community leaders and others as a silver level sponsor of the 2015 Childhood Obesity Conference: Collective Impact, Developing a Shared Vision to Achieve Greater Success in San Diego, CA from June 29 – July 2.

This conference is the nation’s largest, most influential collaboration of professionals dedicated to combating pediatric obesity/overweight. Nearly 2,000 attendees from across the country are expected to attend in 2015, to share and discuss emerging research, best practices, community-based efforts and effective policy strategies that promote and sustain healthy eating and physical activity practices for children, adolescents and their families!

Be sure to visit us at booth 218 in the exhibit hall to explore the variety of educational materials available to support both families, health and education professionals. The following is an outline of other Dairy Council of California activities during the conference and a link to the full conference program guide. We hope to see you there!

Monday, June 29

Smarter Lunchrooms: How the Collective Impact Results in a National Movement! (Pre-conference session) 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
It’s not nutrition until it’s eaten!” Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM), which was developed by Cornell University with funding from USDA, nudges children to make good food decisions and increase consumption of healthy foods. Join us to learn more about this national movement.  

Tuesday, June 30

A "Whole" New Look at School Lunch: Perceptions Matter 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
Schools are under pressure to provide healthy school meals students will eat. This thought-provoking session looks at how the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) promotes holistic changes that improve student consumption of healthy foods. More information available here.

Evaluation Frameworks Designed to Measure Public Health Impact 11:00 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m.
How do you measure the public health impact of a population-based effort? This session explores the use of the RE-AIM framework & a systematic methodology for quantifying intensity change based on event duration, population reach and strategy to evaluate the public health impact. 

Thursday, July 2

Creating a Culture of Wellness through Common Core: Strategies and Promising Practice (Roundtable) 8:20 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Creating a culture of wellness in our schools is a national priority issue. Together attendees will explore strategies and promising practices to support nutrition education being taught in classrooms with a focus on Common Core State Standards. 

MINI-PLENARY: Stress, Youth & Obesity: Rethinking how emotion plays a role in eating behaviors 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Our brain’s response to psychological stress can lead to lowered executive function and potentially poor eating habits as early as preschool. Learn how maternal stress, modeling behaviors and the environment make a difference in childhood obesity. Discover the benefits of stress reduction and mindfulness strategies to enable healthier behaviors and decision-making. The relationship between stress, brain function and food choices will also be explored during this session. 

Poster Presentations

Poster viewing is scheduled for June 30th, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and July 1, 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Booth 18: California Local School Wellness Policy Collaborative: Inspiring California Schools in Implementing Strong Wellness Policies presented by Dairy Council of California Shannan Young and California Department of Education Heather Reed, et al.

Booth 67: Kindergarten Nutrition Education Builds a Strong Foundation in Healthy Eating by Dairy Council of California Trina Robertson and University of Southern California Genevieve Dunton, et al.

Booth 105: The Collective Impact of California’s Approach to Smarter Lunchrooms by UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program Michele Byrnes and Dairy Council of California Shannan Young, et al.

Shannan Young, R.D.N., S.N.S., Senior Project Manager 

Tags: healthy dietary patterns Healthy eating obesity school wellness smarter lunchrooms
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

16, June 2015 3:42 PM

In honor of June Dairy Month, we're shining the spotlight on both dairy foods and the families that produce them. Milk + milk products are "feel good" foods not only because of their nutritional value and the decades of scientific research confirming the essential role they play in a healthy diet, but also because dairy farmers are stewards of the environment and play a big role in conservation and sustainability. 

 In California, strict environmental regulations, as well as longstanding water concerns, have compelled many farmers to take pioneering steps to conserve their natural resources. 

Some steps, like solar panels, are similar to the same steps being taken by homeowners in communities across California. Others, like a brand new process to convert manure to diesel, generating fertilizer and purified water in the process, are more revolutionary in scope. 

These efforts share the common thread that dairy farmers live and work in their communities and go to great lengths to do what's right for their business, right for their environment and right for their community. For these reasons and many more, we're highlighting New Hope, Curtimade and Scott Brothers Dairies as our June 2015 Community Health All-Stars

Cows Do Their Part Too

Did you know that cows are natural recyclers? Part of a cow's diet includes agricultural byproducts like cotton seed hulls or blemished produce that might otherwise go into a landfill.

Let's Work Together

In addition to the efforts underway at dairies across California and the country, sustainability starts at home. Limiting food waste, being mindful of our water use and limiting car trips are all simple ways we can better conserve our natural resources. Check out more ways to improve sustainability beyond the dairy, at work, at home and on-the-go.

How do you reduce, reuse and recycle?


Tags: cheese community health community health all-stars milk sustainability yogurt
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

03, June 2015 10:04 AM

In May, the San Jose District Dietitian's book club met to discuss Dr. Brian Wansink's latest book, Slim By Design. The main idea of this book is to alter your personal environment in such a way that you improve your food choices and eating habits. Since 80 percent of our calories are consumed within a five mile radius of our home—coined our "food radius"—making simple changes in these five places can have significant positive impact. These five locations within our "food radius" include: 

  • Home
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery Store
  • Workplace
  • Kids' Schools

The research base for the book confirms that small changes can make a big difference! People who successfully lost weight made only one or two changes but stuck with them day after day—with an average of at least 25 days a month.

Some of the ideas/suggested changes in the book that our dietitians thought would work best include:

  • Clear the counter of food ... except for the fruit
  • Use smaller plates (no bigger than 10 inches in diameter)
  • Shop the produce section first
  • Move the fruit bowl to the main traffic spot in the kitchen (keeping at least two types of fruit in the bowl)
  • Store healthy snacks like cheese and veggie sticks on the center shelf of the refrigerator

Many of these suggestions were also discussed in our recent snacking webinar, From Potato Chips to Mini-Meals. This isn't surprising, as one of the presenters, Kathryn Hoy, MFN, RD, CDN is one of Wansink's colleagues at Cornell. Check out the archive and set of 10 tips for healthy snacks that include making small changes to your food environment.

Still a Need for Nutrition Education?

One aspect of the book where we didn't entirely agree with the author is the value of nutrition education. The book infers that changing your environment alone will get the job done. We contend that three things need to come together to achieve behavior change: 

  1. You need to want to make the change (i.e. nutrition education)
  2. You need to be able to make the change (i.e. have enough money to buy healthy food), and
  3. You need to be triggered to make the change (change environment to trigger success). 

All three of these elements are key to success in adopting new healthy habits. That said, our overall rating of this book is two thumbs up. 

On a personal note, I made several changes at our house after reading this book. I moved the fruit bowl to the center of the kitchen and am now sure to keep at least two types of fruit in it at all times (it used to just have bananas). 


I also added a clear container (that egg container that comes with your refrigerator that is too good to throw out but you never use) to the main shelf of the refrigerator. I filled this easy to see container with ready-to-eat, healthy snacks at eye level. I also moved the less healthy snacks (tortilla chips and cookies) out to the pantry in the garage rather than on a shelf in the kitchen. 

My kids return home from college this month and time will tell if they eat healthier snacks with the rearranged kitchen!

What small changes will you make to become Slim By Design?


Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist



Tags: Dietitians Book Review healthy eating patterns Maureen Bligh
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

01, June 2015 8:00 AM

June is Dairy Month, Father's Day and the start of summer. So much cause for celebration all month long! Celebrate in healthy style with recipes that feature milk, cheese and yogurt with foods from all of the food groups.

June Family Meal Recipes 

June Dairy Month

Sweet Potato Chili with Cornmeal Drop Biscuits and Kiwi Lime Frozen Yogurt;  plus Puffy Chili Relleno Casserole, Yogurt Fruit Salad, Turkey, Veggie + Cheese Pitas and Capellini with Fresh Tomato Sauce.

Cook Out

Chicken with Oranges and AvocadosFresh Vegetable Salad and Apple Cheddar Pizza with Toasted Pecans; plus Shrimp and Lime Tostadas, Coconut Black Eyed Peas, Couscous Tabouli and Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta.

I Heart Dairy

New England Clam Chowder, Spicy Corn Salad with Chilies and Cilantro and Fruity Yogurt Parfaits; plus Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato Seafood Cream Sauce, Southwestern Cheese Paninis, Orange Polentina and Buffalo Chicken Casserole.

Summer Salutations

Sunny Chicken Salad, Chilled Cucumber Soup and Rhubarb Fool; plus Baja Bean SaladSummer Squash Casserole, Tuscan Tomato Turkey Burgers and Blues Buster Smoothie.

Dairy Festive Fourth

Red White and Blue Cheese Sliders, Cucumber and Tomato Tangy Yogurt Salad and Blueberry Blackberry Gratin; plus Grilled Rosemary Chicken with and Red Peppers with Cucumber Relish, Watermelon + Peach Salsa with Cayenne Chips, Peaches and Kale Salad and Blue Ribbon Meatloaf.

Tags: family meals food group foods Healthy eating holidays recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

19, May 2015 8:24 AM

Did you know that about 26 percent of total calories consumed are snack foods? Given this reality, the nutritional quality of the snacks eaten makes a big difference!

Dairy Council of California recently collaborated with the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior to produce a webinar on the important topic of healthy snacking. How can nutrition professionals help adults and children meet their daily recommended servings from the five food groups when research shows we're snacking more than ever? This webinar provided specific tips and tools to help manipulate the home and office environments to promote healthier eating whether eating meals or snacks.

From Potato Chips to Mini Meals: Optimizing nutrient quality of snacks aired on May 5, 2015, and the archived copy and webinar resources are now available. Webinar speaker, Dr. Keith Ayoob, defined the extent of snacking of both adults and children. He recommends looking for and pushing the positives; what fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, and whole grain foods does the child/adult like? Make these the go-to, default snacks and combine two or more food group foods to optimize the nutrient quality of snacks. Another strategy suggested by Dr. Ayoob was to focus on purchasing the "trifecta" foods for snacks:

  • Favorite foods
  • Affordable
  • Convenient/available

For instance, combine whole-wheat crackers with cheddar cheese and apple slices for a nutritious, affordable and convenient snack. Milk, cheese and yogurt are especially convenient, affordable and good tasting foods that work well in meals as well as snacks with other food group foods.

The second speaker, Kathryn Hoy, MFN, RD, CDN described evidence-based strategies, using "choice architecture" to make healthier snacking selections. She provided concrete suggestions for arranging the food environment to positively influence eating behaviors.

Simple kitchen makeover ideas were shared. Having grab-and-go healthy snacks in clear containers on the main level of the refrigerator and a fruit bowl (containing at least two types of fruit) within 2 feet of the most common kitchen pathway were two of the many ideas shared. The information is based on the studies completed by Dr. Brian Wansink and his research team at Cornell University.

Learn more by checking out the webinar archive page which includes:

Play Webinar archive

Webinar slide deck

Need a new resources to help others make better snacking choices? Webinar speakers contributed to this handout with 10 Healthy Snacking Tips.

Furthermore, snacks that include protein-rich foods promote satiety, keeping you satisfied longer between meals. Dairy Council of CA partnered with Washington State Dairy Council to develop some tips on optimizing protein intake. Since these tips sheets also include protein rich snacks, they're another excellent resource you can share. 

On an interesting note, after the webinar ended one of my coworkers sent me this message:

"Thought today's webinar was great. I got to thinking and realized that I rarely eat full meals … unless I go out for a meal. I’m a super snacker; mostly healthy snacks. I always have snacky foods at home and at the office and always bring snacks for car rides. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have kids to feed or because I like eating a variety of foods throughout the day, but just thought it was interesting."

The bottom line, eating snacks does not need to be unhealthful if we are intentional about making healthy snack choices from all five food groups. 

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Tags: food group foods Healthy eating healthy eating patterns healthy snacking protein
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

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