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Celebrate a World of Flavors During National Nutrition Month

By: Megan Holdaway, RDN

  • Monday, March 7, 2022
  • 3 Minute Read   

National_Nutrition_Month-2022Every year in March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to focus on healthy lifestyle changes during National Nutrition Month®. In addition to promoting healthy habits like eating a variety of nutritious foods and planning meals and snacks in advance, the larger focus this year is to find the joy in healthy eating and to Celebrate a World of Flavors. Dairy Council of California is celebrating National Nutrition Month 2022 by highlighting cultural cuisines and traditions as a part of nutritious, sustainable eating patterns. 

Cultural foods from around the world show that a diversity of flavors can be part of healthy, sustainable eating patterns. Sustainable nutrition means ensuring wholesome, nutrient-dense foods are accessible, affordable and culturally relevant while also preserving environmental resources and supporting local communities. Healthy eating patterns that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy foods support the long-term health and well-being of populations worldwide.

Dairy foods play an important role in many cuisines. Milk, yogurt and cheese provide many essential nutrients needed for health, including high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Nutrition research continues to demonstrate the benefits of dairy foods as an affordable and sustainable way to address the nutritional needs of a growing population. Dairy provides critical nutrition throughout the life stages.  For children it is important as it offers a unique package of nutrients essential for optimal growth and development.

Popular dishes across the globe use a combination of nutritious, sustainable ingredients: Blog_NNM_Cusines

  • Mediterranean cuisine is based on a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from olives and nuts, legumes and beans, grains and fish/seafood with the recommended servings of dairy and meat as part of a healthy and sustainable eating pattern. Yogurt is often paired with fruit for breakfast or used in sauces and dips like tzatziki—made with yogurt, cucumber, lemon and herbs. Popular cheeses across the Mediterranean include Brie, chevre, feta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and ricotta.
  • In India, mango lassi is a popular smoothie-like drink that combines yogurt, mango and cardamom. In Lebanon, a milk-based pudding called Mahalabia is eaten during the month of Ramadan. The dairy foods used in these dishes provide a creamy base, allowing the combination of local ingredients to shine.
  • In Mexican culture and within California , cheese is used in many dishes. Cheese making began in Mexico in the 1800s with queso fresco (fresh cheese), which is a fresh farmer’s cheese often used as a topping for dishes. Queso Oaxaca, also known as quesillo, is good for melting, while cotija, a semi-firm cheese with a crumbly texture, is tangy and salty. Many traditional Mexican dishes rely on the unique properties of these different cheeses to round out flavor profiles. 

Join Dairy Council of California throughout National Nutrition Month in Celebrating a World of Flavors by enjoying your favorite cultural dishes that include milk and dairy foods. Read more about the benefits of milk and dairy foods and tips on meal planning and cooking with dairy.


Megan Holdaway, RDN

Megan Holdaway, RDN

Megan Holdaway is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the Nutrition Science Program Manager at Dairy Council of California.

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