Dairy foods play a major role in maintaining good health.

Published 6:44 am Saturday, June 2, 2012

(NAPSI)—Building strong families can be easier when you serve cool dairy foods.

Foods in the dairy group supply most of the calcium that families need, as well as provide important protein, vitamins and minerals.

Calcium plays a major role in maintaining good health. Research shows it can help increase bone density, decreasing your chances of developing osteoporosis. Calcium can also help lower blood pressure and help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

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The USDA reports that nine out of 10 women and seven out of 10 men fail to meet the recommended calcium requirements of two to three servings a day, and more than half of children do not get enough calcium. Children ages 1 to 3 need two servings of dairy, ages 4 to 8 need three, and ages 9 to 18 need four servings daily.

A single serving of delicious, wholesome, calcium-rich foods includes:

• 1 cup milk, yogurt, pudding or frozen yogurt

• 1½ ounces natural cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)

• 2 ounces processed cheese (American slices)

• 2 cups cottage cheese

• 1½ cups ice cream

• ½ cup ricotta cheese

Try this tasty snack that will keep your herd mooing for more:

Fruit Kebabs and Dip

Variety of fruits (bananas, strawberries, pineapple)

Wooden skewers

1 (8-oz.) cup vanilla yogurt

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

½ jar marshmallow cream

1 small container whipped topping

Cut fruit into bite-sized pieces and alternate on skewers. For dip, mix remaining ingredients until smooth.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association is celebrating June Dairy Month with a $10,000 Mammoth Money Sweepstakes. For contest rules and entry form, visit www.EasyHomeMeals.com and www.Facebook.com/EasyHomeMeals.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate (NAPSI)