Around the New Year, people begin setting resolutions to improve their wellness. Many companies promise all your wellness goals will come true if you eat (or don’t eat) this or if you buy (or don’t buy) that. People often turn to trends to help meet their wellness goals. Monica Nyman, Registered Dietitian with St. Louis District Dairy Council, speaks to health and wellness trends of 2022 and how dairy fits into these trends.
Focusing on Healthspan over Lifespan
Prior to the pandemic, Americans focused on extending their lives and not necessarily prioritizing their health. Now there is a growing realization that healthspan is as important as lifespan, and Americans are shifting their focus to overall immune health. The aim is to include enough immune-building nutrients daily to keep the immune system at peak performance. With growing evidence showing a link between gut health and overall health, we are searching for foods that will not only help build immune resilience to withstand symptoms and duration of illnesses, but also foods high in prebiotics and probiotics.
While many search for a quick fix to improve immune and gut health, like new services or special treatments, Nyman recommends sticking with the tried and true classic—good nutrition. “A healthy eating pattern, including foods from all the food groups like dairy, whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, ensures you get the nutrients critical to optimal immune health. Dairy foods provide several vitamins and minerals known to play a role in immunity, such as vitamins A, D, and B, zinc, and selenium. Additionally dairy products, like kefir and yogurt, also supply a healthy dose of live and active cultures that support gut health.”
Superfood lattes are milk-based drinks, served warm or cold, that do not include caffeine. Rather than using caffeine, the trendy beverage incorporates a uniquely flavored blend of herbs, spices, and/or “superfood extracts” that promise a range of health benefits. While the term “superfood” has no specific definition, Nyman notes that these lattes provide a robust range of nutrients from the milk. “Superfood lattes are a great new way to help you get the recommended three servings of dairy daily. Keep in mind, there is minimal scientific evidence that the herbs, spices, and extracts have a direct impact on your health,” states Nyman.
Over the past two years, Americans turned to savory snacks and homemade baked goods for comfort. In 2022, we expect the trend to turn toward finding snacks that feel indulgent and bring joy, but also help maintain health and wellness goals. Using dairy in your favorite recipes can add a healthy twist to indulgent snacks, without sacrificing taste. These can be as simple as adding low fat sour cream to a muffin recipe to obtain maximum softness or upgrading your popcorn by sprinkling on Parmesan cheese. “Dairy adds versatility to your plate and helps you savor your meals, moments, and what really matters,” reminds Nyman.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
We are redefining comfort without sacrificing your health and wellness goals with this warm and savory soup! Use low fat milk to get all the powerful nutrients that dairy delivers without sacrificing any of the taste. The protein and fiber provided from the combination of milk, cheese, and vegetables, will be sure to keep you fueled to your next meal. Serve it with a crusty bread to make this meal a family favorite!
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Servings: 8
1 Tablespoon butter
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups low-fat milk
2 cups chicken stock
1½ cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Melt 1-Tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion in hot butter until translucent.
Whisk ¼ cup melted butter and flour together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Continue to whisk and cook, adding 1 to 2 Tablespoons more of milk.
Pour the remaining milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Add broccoli, carrots, sautéed onion, and celery to the broth mix. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Stir cheddar cheese into soup until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.