The creamy goodness of ice cream, cheesecake, macaroni and cheese, and pudding aside, dairy foods are known as abundant sources of protein and calcium. Even the most devout fans of soda pop drink milk and eat yogurt. It may be chocolate milk and strawberry yogurt; thanks to the imaginations of major dairies, there’s an ample variety of flavored and sweetened milk and yogurt at the grocers. Alternate sources of protein and calcium can’t compete. They aren’t an integral part of American culture like milk and cornflakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cheese burgers.
Baked beans, spinach salad, and steamed broccoli don’t offer the texture and rich taste of hot, melted cheese. Roasted nuts can’t provide the silky flavor of chocolate pudding. How would American culture have to change to facilitate the consumption and enjoyment of nondairy sources of protein and calcium? At birthday parties, what would be the favored accompaniment to cake? Would you care for some lemonade with those chocolate chip cookies? It is truly American culture that prescribes a dairy-centered diet. Residents of other parts of the globe focus their meals on aromatic and textured grains such as jasmine and sticky rice, polenta and masa harina, and flatbreads such as injera, chapatti, and naan.
No one need sacrifice the Americana of public snacking at block parties, ball parks, backyard barbeques, and playgrounds. Consider a focus on the fruits of the land rather than denizens of the pasture in preparing those snacks. Why not enjoy frozen juice pops instead of ice cream custard ones? Wouldn’t scoops of tutti-frutti sorbet be cooler and more refreshing than an ice cream sundae? Prepare potato salad with nutrient-rich olive oil rather than macaroni and cheese. Instead of grilled cheese sandwiches, offer your children classic peanut butter and banana on multi-grain bread. Bake corn muffins with sprigs of chopped greens for on-the-go snacking. Sweeter wheat muffins might include walnuts, raisins, blueberries, or grated carrots. Limiting dairy foods needn’t leave one bereft of nutrition, flavor or culture. It just might prolong the enjoyment.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2011