/PRNewswire/ -- During June Is Dairy Month, Dairy Council of California reminds moms that milk provides the nutrition kids need when they're out of school and not benefiting from the essential nutrients found in school breakfast and lunch programs.
By design, school lunches provide one-third of the recommended daily allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and calories that kids need for healthy development. However, only a fraction of children have access to food programs over summer vacation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service agency, of the 18.5 million children who received free or reduced-price breakfast or lunch during the 2008 school year, only 3.5 million children had access to summer food programs.
"Parents should take extra care to plan healthy meals and snacks this summer because good nutrition should never take a vacation," said Andrea Garen, M.A., R.D. and Project Manager with Dairy Council of California. "The tools and resources on our free meal planning website MealsMatter.org make it easy to keep kids healthy with nutritious meals and snacks all summer long."
Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D and a good source of potassium, protein and vitamin A. Garen recommends that parents visit the MealsMatter.org website for recipe ideas and an interactive Calcium Quiz to make sure kids are drinking milk and getting the nutrition they need during summer vacation.
About 30 percent of all children ages 4 to 8, 90 percent of preteen girls and 70 percent of preteen boys don't get the recommended amount of calcium in their diets. Parents can use milk, yogurt and string cheese to provide affordable, convenient and good-tasting snacks and meals that provide the nutrition kids need year-round.
For a cool summer snack that's loaded with important nutrients, Garen recommends that moms and kids make a Strawberry Vanilla Shake. For each serving, blend one-half cup low-fat milk, one-half cup of low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen strawberries and one-half teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth and enjoy.
Visit MealsMatter.org for more nutritious and convenient breakfast, lunch and snack recipes that kids will love.
MealsMatter.org is a free family nutrition and meal-planning website staffed by registered dietitians and sponsored by Dairy Council of California. Healthy Eating Made Easier®
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