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We’ve all heard it before: Drink your milk if you want strong bones.

It’s true: The calcium and vitamin D in milk are essential for keeping our bones strong throughout our lives. As Emily mentioned in her article last week, June is National Dairy Month. This is an excellent time for us all to increase our focus on our own dairy consumption. One easy way to get in our recommended three daily servings of dairy is by drinking milk.

Milk contains nine essential nutrients and is a source of high-quality protein. Protein not only helps us feel fuller longer, it protects our muscles after we work out, it strengthens the immune system, and it regulates metabolism as we get older. Milk is a convenient, cost-effective and tasty way to power up with protein throughout the day.

Looking for a great after-workout beverage? Chocolate milk is perfect for refueling. Although it does contain added sugar, the carbohydrate-to-protein ratio makes it ideal for consuming after a workout session. Bonus: Milk also contains electrolytes that are needed for replacing those we lost through sweat! There is so much goodness packed into one glass of milk.

The easiest way to consume milk is to simply pour a glass and drink it. Other simple ways to incorporate it into your daily meals are to mix it in with your morning oatmeal or cereal, add it to soups and stews, make a smoothie with it, use it to make scrambled eggs and omelets, use it in place of non-dairy creamers in your coffee, use instead of water when preparing instant mashed potatoes or rice, and add to boxed baking mixes in place of water. It is extremely versatile.

For a unique twist on a typical glass of milk, try out the recipe I’ve provided for red-berry moon milk.

Kaitlin Bruun is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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