World School Milk Day

Create a Healthier World

Celebrate the 11th Annual World School Milk Day (WSMD) on Wednesday, September 29!

What is it? An international, annual event that celebrates the importance of school milk in children’s diets. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations actively supports and promotes it.

Who celebrates? Countries throughout the world! In the past, over 40

countries representing every continent celebrated, including Germany, India, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, China, Iceland, Finland, Croatia, Indonesia and Oman.

Why celebrate World School Milk Day? It’s a way to focus on helping children make healthy beverage choices and to bring our world closer

together, thereby raising children’s global awareness.

What’s more, both flavored and white milk provide calcium and eight other essential nutrients that growing children need. Research shows that children who drink milk at school are more likely to meet their daily nutrient needs.

Milk provides three of the five nutrients the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize as being low in children’s diets – calcium, magnesium and potassium.

How do other countries celebrate? Celebrations are unique to each country and involve children in a variety of ways. In previous years:

  • Children from across Australia entered a creative drawing, writing and photography contest. Winning entries were displayed at the Royal Melbourne Show and on Australia’s Discover Dairy Web site.
  • State-wide School Milk Clubs were launched in various schools in Gujarat, India. Eighty schools also participated in a “Milky Way to a Stronger Nation” painting competition. The best three entries received prizes from this His Holy Highness, Lalji Maharaaj Shree Nrigendraprasadji.
  • Over 6,000 children in China participated in an online nutrition competition that had 15 percent of the questions related to milk.
  • Two daylong dairy carnivals in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistanused fun-filled activities that highlighted the benefits of drinking milk to launch a School Milk Ambassador Program.
  • In Zagreb, Croatia, children gathered in the main square to celebrate milk with pictures, songs, and milk and dairy foods tastings.
  • Milk was distributed to over 3,600 children in Oman.

Family Day

Family Day

Celebrated September 27, 2010

the 10th Anniversary!

When I was growing up dinner was at 5:00 and if you were not there, you were in trouble!  Dinner was a great time to yell above your other siblings about what happened in your day, your grades, and most importantly what happened on the way home from school!  Didn’t everyone eat as a family?  Sometimes Mom and Dad were not there…but Grandma was and WOW could she cook!  I was quite naïve…every family was like this wasn’t it…..

Last year many of you received or ordered #Back to the Table® DVD from and one segment was on the benefits of eating as a family, or group.  Eating together at the same time while talking, laughing, and sometimes arguing… but still learning from each other.

According to CASA eating with family is critical for optimal child growth.  I would have never learned to eat biscuits one layer at a time if it was not for my sister or more importantly; learning to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious if it was not at the dinner table practicing with my other siblings.

CASA also states: “Whether you’re cooking a gourmet meal, ordering food from your favorite take-out place or eating on the go, rest assured that what your kids really want during dinnertime is YOU! Family meals are the perfect time to talk to your kids and to listen to what’s on their mind.  The more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs”

I am sure as I was growing up we had many serious conversations about school, eating right, smoking, drinking, driving but it is hard to remember the serious stuff!  Today, with more dangers to our children, more technology and less time to cuddle and protect them isn’t it time to begin having dinner as a family?  Dinner does not have to be at the dining table, it can easily be in the car before a game (not driving, but stopped and able to have Mom involved); or at the picnic site, it can even be in a corner of a auditorium with drive-thru bags before an instrument performance.  Be creative, you never know when your children are really listening….usually when they are laughing…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Fall Fun with Indiana Agritourism

This blog was written by Jeannie Keating, Manager of Media Relations at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Fall weekends are a fantastic time to get out and experience Indiana agriculture.  From orchards to pumpkin patches to corn mazes – fun autumn festivities are everywhere. So throw on an extra sweatshirt, pack up the family and explore Indiana’s fall agritourism destinations!

You can conveniently find one close to you on the Indiana Farmers’ Market, U-Pick and Agritourism Directory available exclusively on the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Web site The site has interactive capabilities that will allow easy searches for theagritourism destination you are looking for — farmers’ markets, u-pick orchards, local wineries and much more. And no one says that you HAVE to visit a pumpkin patch—go find where the buffalo roam in Indiana. (Seriously, there are five buffalo farms in Indiana.)

The Directory is available through a partnership with ISDA and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (Tourism) and is designed to help reach the growing market of tourists and consumers interested in locally grown food and agricultural destinations. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

ISDA and Tourism is proud to offer the 2010 Indiana Farmers’ Market, U-Pick and Agritourism Directory. We hope that you enjoy and explore our many Hoosier agritourism destinations!

Bored with Dinner?

Heather Cupp, a Registered Dietitian working for Riley Hospital, is our guest blogger today. She is a busy mom of two children and knows the stresses of evening meals. We hope that her healthy ideas will inspire your future dinner creations!

Bored with dinner?  Need some easy meal ideas that your family will love?  You’ve come to the right spot! With afterschool practices, games, and other activities finding healthy, creative, and quick dinner ideas can be challenging.  So, here are a few fun ones:

Roll-up:  Tortillas and flat-breads are fun to make dinners with your kids.  Try a flat bread spread with peanut butter then topped with a banana rolled up for a delicious treat. Don’t forget the other food groups!  Adding a glass of milk and some raw veggies with dip completes this delicious meal.

Easy Pizza: 1 whole grain English muffin topped with tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheese for each person.  Add a side salad and mix some berries with yogurt for a dessert.  You could also have a fun day with the kids by buying some dough (already made or mix), setting out a variety of toppings, and letting them make their own individual pizzas!

Leftover: Be creative with leftovers.  Use chicken to make quesadillas or BBQ chicken sandwiches.  Leftover ground beef or turkey can be made into sloppy joe’s, patty melts, or taco salad the next day.  Use leftover pork roast to make pulled pork sandwiches, quesadillas, or wraps.  You can also be creative by adding these to a salad. 

Shape, Alphabet, or Other Themed Meals: A “c” themed dinner could include a chicken sandwich with cheese, cucumber slices and carrot sticks on the side with fresh cherries for dessert. A circle theme would have crackers, reduced fat cheese cut-outs, melon balls, cherry tomatoes and other circle foods. Or try an ocean theme: tuna salad with goldfish crackers, broccoli trees with dip and blue Jell-O with fruit for dessert.

My family loves when I make these quick, easy, and delicious meals for dinner. I hope yours does, too! Enjoy!

Looking Back… Indiana State Fair 2010

Elles Niessen, the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess, is our guest blogger today. We hope that you enjoy learning about her memorable experiences at the Indiana State Fair.

            I realize that the Indiana State Fair has been over for almost a month, but I still want to share my experiences

Elles, second from right, at Indiana State Fair Dairy Show.

from it since I’ve attended it every year since I was in the 4th grade. To make it even better, this year I got to experience it as the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess. First, I had the privilege of helping hand out ribbons and welcoming everyone to both dairy shows during the State Fair this year. I was also able to attend one of the milking events where we taught the public about the milking process and allowed them to ask questions about it and dairy cows in general. Every day at the state fair, I met and interacted with many new people who share a love for the dairy industry and try a variety of dairy products, like fried butter. For example, I attended the ice cream crank off in the Pioneer Village and taste-tested all of the different homemade ice cream flavors, like chocolate covered strawberry. Yum!

            Not only did I get to experience that event, but I also welcomed and educated the public about the importance of consuming three servings of milk and other dairy products every day while standing outside of the Dairy Bar. I was handing out “I love milk” stickers to kids when an adult asked if she could have some to take home to her grandchildren. This is when I thought of the idea to propose her with a DAIRY question to make her earn the stickers

Elles & Buttercup in the daily State Fair parade.

while engaging her dairy knowledge. It actually turned into a fun game for those waiting in line, while also getting them involved and testing their knowledge one person at a time J . The Dairy Bar also provided me with plenty of milk shakes and grilled cheese sandwiches to keep me on my feet, especially for the evening parade. In the parade, I rode the float with my side kick, Buttercup the Cow. It was probably my favorite part of the State Fair because people knew we were promoting the dairy industry with our logo “Winners Drink Milk.”

            The whole fair experience was great, and I probably had my picture taken over twenty times. I know that there were many girls there who dream of becoming the Indiana Dairy Princess when they get older. Even though you may think I helped the public become more knowledgeable about the dairy industry, I believe this was a great learning experience for me. I only showed Holstein cows and heifers at my county fair, so this opportunity gave me the chance to learn many valuable things about judging different dairy breeds and the specific details judges look for in larger shows like that at the State Fair. I enjoyed my experience greatly and hope to see many more people at Kelsay Farms on October 23rd, where I will next be seen following through with my legend!

Beat the Freshman 15

“Freshman 15” originally referred to the typical number of credit hours a full-time college student takes each semester. But pop culture also claims it’s the number of pounds college co-eds gain their first year away from home. Research shows about 70 percent of students gain weight between the start of college and their sophomore year – but the good news is the “Freshman 15” has lost weight.

Fill your dorm room refrigerator with nutrient rich foods

College freshmen flunk when it comes to good nutrition. Results from a recent Tufts study show students should get an “F” in eating enough fruits or vegetables, a “D” in eating enough fiber-rich grains and a “C” in consuming enough calcium. On average college students consume only half of the recommended servings of dairy each day.  To make the dean’s list, freshmen must make nutrient-rich foods a priority. Choosing nutrient-rich foods, which provide a more nutritious bang for your calorie buck, is the best way to build a healthy diet.   For bone health, young adults require calcium and vitamin D, and dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt deliver both.  

Many factors can tip the scales, like hectic schedules, social eating and all-you-can-eat meal plans, but the biggest culprit may be late night snacking. One study found that, on average, freshmen take in about 500 extra calories between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.  For late night snacks, I recommend sliced fruit and cheese, yogurt topped with sliced almonds or whole grain cereal with fat-free milk.   

Tips for stocking a mini-fridge:

Undergrads should stock up on these fridge favorites: baby carrots and celery, hummus, string cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt, drinkable smoothies, water, pudding, low-fat and fat-free milk and lean sandwich meat.  These are healthy snacks perfect for the on-the-go student, and many come in single serve options that can be packed for class.  

Exercise is important too!

For good health, college students need to exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.  It’s easy to include fitness in college life with these five tips.  

  • Walk or bike to class. Be active on the way to class instead of taking a bus or car.
  • Go for a walk with friends. Stays fit and chat with friends at the same time. Instead of taking a shortcut back to the dorm, take the scenic route and get in a little extra exercise.
  • Take a fitness class as a course. This is a good way to include fitness and earn college credit.  Consider martial arts, dancing or aerobics to build muscle. 
  • Check out the college gym or wellness center. Most colleges have gyms that offer free services or reduced price memberships. Look for classes in yoga, cardio, kickboxing or dancing.  
  • Join an intramural sport. From volleyball to football, this is a fun way to meet new people and fit in exercise, too.

 Eating nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, and exercising regularly can help students beat the dreaded “Freshman 15”.

Do South Bend School Meal Programs Make the Grade?

By Stefany Jones, Dietetics Intern, Purdue University

The National School Lunch Program provides meals for over 30 million children in the US every day.  Everywhere you look, school meals have come under more scrutiny by the media, parents, students, and those concerned with the health of our youth. Recently, Newsweek issued a “Back to School” feature article highlighting school lunch deficiencies and improvements across the country, and just last week, the South Bend Tribune featured “Send the School Menu to Detention”, written by a seventh grader concerned with the fat content of meals at LaSalle Intermediate Academy in South Bend. Wanting to know more, I set out to interview some of the people involved in meal planning and preparation, as well as observe and experience, for myself, some of our local school meal offerings.

I first stopped at Monroe Primary to observe their breakfast program and to tour the facility with Karen Case, Nutrition Facilitator for South Bend Community Schools.

As I entered the cafeteria, the smell of citrus greeted us. Tables full of students and breakfast trays brimming with milk, oranges, cereal, and breakfast sandwiches filled the room. Moving along to the breakfast line, children began assembling their meal by choosing a carton of milk from boxes of low fat, fat-free, white and flavored milks. Reduced-sugar versions of kids’ favorite cereals, like “Frosted Flakes” and fiber-containing “Total Raisin Bran” were also available. Instead of cereal, students could choose a breakfast sandwich consisting of half of an English muffin topped with an egg, turkey Canadian bacon, and reduced fat cheese. Finally, breakfast-eers could choose a fruit in fresh form or as 4 oz. of calcium and vitamin D fortified 100% fruit juice. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, not a fryer was in sight! “Not a bad breakfast!” said my dietetics intern inner-voice.

On to lunch.

I then ventured on to LaSalle Intermediate Academy for lunch. First, I grab my fat-free milk. Hmm…today’s entrée choices? Filet of fish on a whole wheat bun (tartar sauce, optional) and beef tacos (Karen said that all beef is well drained of fat before it’s included in an entrée). Not being in the mood for either of those, I opted for a pre-made romaine-blend salad (offered daily) topped with chicken, shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and reduced-fat Ranch dressing. Next, I grabbed an apple from the basket loaded with 4 different fresh fruits daily.  Then, it was time to sit, eat, and mingle with Karen and the kids!

Periodically, school meals are analyzed by a state agency Registered Dietitian for adherence to the USDA’s strict nutrition standards for school meal programs. And how did South Bend’s program measure up? “We were a bit low on calories…our fat content was only slightly over the 30% fat requirement, but our saturated fat fell below the requirement, which is great!” said Karen. Among the school lunch program’s recent improvements, “We’re now offering more fresh fruit and vegetables instead of just canned, and we’re incorporating more whole grain breads.”  Karen says she’s currently working with dairy processors to lower the sugar content in their flavored milks. “We’re always striving to improve the nutrition of our menu offerings,” she adds.

In my opinion, breakfast and lunch both offered tasty and healthy menu options.  What grade would the students give the lunch program? One LaSalle Academy fifth-grader said, “I’d give it an ‘A’ or ‘B’.”