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Udderly Delicious: Discovering the Wonders of Dairy

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Raise a glass to National Dairy Month, toasting to calcium, protein and dairy delights!

In 1939, June was deemed National Dairy Month to help promote milk as a primary beverage for its nutritional values. It’s also to highlight those hardworking folks in the dairy industry who keep it “moo-ving.”

It doesn’t take long when driving a few miles out the Twin Ports area to come across farmland. The next time you see those friendly cows - here are a few facts that you can reflect on.

1. Dairy is a nutritional powerhouse.

Dairy is a food group that offers calcium, vitamin D, potassium and phosphorus. It is a foundational component to build optimal bone mass and can provide a good kick of protein to any snack or meal.

One 8 oz glass of milk can be known as nutritional powerhouse offering carbs and protein to help balance out a meal. Whether you have the classic cereal and milk pairing, add milk to a baked good recipe or have simply pour an ice-cold glass with dinner; you’re supporting your dairy farmers nearby and statewide!

2. Its a booming industry in the Midwest.

Minnesota has 3,470 working dairy farms ranking number 6 in the nation for dairy cows and number 8 for milk production. Wisconsin has around 6,000 dairy farms and about 1.28 million cows alone.

Between the two states it’s safe to say there’s quite a few jobs to be had to keep these farms going. Between the farmers, dairy technicians, veterinarians, milk haulers and dairy plants many hands are involved from start to finish to get the dairy products we know and love into the grocery stores for purchase.

3. There are several dairy-related holidays.

Not only is there a national day honoring this beverage, but it gets recognized worldwide. June 1st has been named World Milk Day, whereas National Milk Day here in the US is on June 11th.

If milk earned its place as a national holiday, you best bet cheese did too. You can celebrate this delicacy of a food item on June 4th. A few segway holidays to consider could also be national grilled cheese day, mac and cheese day or cheesecake day (although not in June).

4.) It’s more than just milk.

Cheese is loved by many and has only added to the fame of charcuterie boards that are all over social media. If you’ve driven down any interstate in Wisconsin, you’re likely to come across a “Stop for Cheese” sign or two.

Wisconsinites didn’t fall short as America’s Dairyland last year, as their cheese makers produced a total of 3.52 billion pounds of cheese! When approaching cheese with a heart healthy mindset, remember that soft cheeses tend to be lower in sodium such as mozzarella, swiss and ricotta.

Other dairy products include yogurt, ice cream, butter and cream.

5.) Get all your daily dairy needs.

Traditionally, American families used to have a glass of milk with most meals; however, data nowadays says we consume milk less frequently due to other competing products.

It is recommended per the Dietary Guidelines of Americans 2020-2025 to consume 2 to 3 servings of milk or daily equivalents (whether that be cheese, yogurt, etc.) depending on your age and sex. As June continues to warm up and you treat yourself to that ice cream cone, be sure to thank a farmer!

Clinical nutrition in Duluth

If you'd like guidance with your diet, the team of registered dietitians at St. Luke's Clinical Nutrition is ready to help you be the healthiest version of yourself. A referral is required for this service. Learn more at or call 218.249.5231.