March is National Nutrition Month®: Smart, nutritious dairy snacks! Back »

Written by Whitney Jerman under the direction and review of Ann Schwader.


Eating three square meals a day is a thing of the past for many Americans and snacking has gone mainstream. In fact, 94 percent of Americans snack at least once per day, with half snacking multiple times. Additionally, for the average person, approximately 25 percent of total calories come from snacks. As a registered dietitian, my best advice to make the most of this significant amount of calories is to choose “smart snacks.” 

Smart Snacks

A smart snack should represent at least two food groups (see ChooseMyPlate). Including nutrient-rich dairy products as one of these food groups helps make smart snacking easy for a variety of reasons:

  • Dairy is a source of protein which can help keep us fuller longer—the goal of any snack!
  • Dairy pairs nicely with other food groups, especially fruits and vegetables which we all can benefit from eating more of.
  • Dairy foods are convenient with many grab-and-go options to choose from. 

Tips for Snacking Smarter!

Here are some easy tips to help you snack smarter during National Nutrition Month and beyond—and help you get the recommended three servings of dairy every day:

  • Pair cheese sticks with fresh fruit, such as an apple, pear or grapes. Try our Rainbow Fruit & Cheese Kabobs.
  • Reach for cheese cubes and whole grain crackers when you want something savory.
  • Dip strawberries in yogurt for a tasty, sweet treat.
  • Create your own yogurt parfait. Try our Fruit Salsa Yogurt Parfait.
  • Whip up a dairy-based smoothie made for an on-the-go snack.
  • Satisfy your chocolate craving with a glass of chocolate milk.
  • Make a yogurt-based dip for fresh vegetables. Try our Green Pea and Parmesan Dip.

For recipes and additional information visit Midwest Dairy Association.


Photo courtesy of Midwest Dairy Association.

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