Mealtime Memo
National Food Service Management Institute
The University of Mississippi
for Child Care
No. 11, 2008 Updated January 2012
Teaching Children about the Food Groups:
Dairy Products
Dairy products are important sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients for children. This Mealtime Memo
focuses on how to teach children about dairy products.
All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy
Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of
the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not.
Dairy products are an important source of calcium and other minerals and vitamin D needed to help bones and
teeth to grow and stay strong.
• Dairy products are also important sources of protein needed for growth and good health.
• Dairy products include:
Milk
Cheese
Yogurt
Cottage cheese
Teach children to identify these and other foods in the milk group.
Activity: Cheese Tasting Party
Adding cheese to the child care menu is a good way to get more calcium into children’s diets. In this activity,
children will taste different kinds of cheese. They will identify the similarities and differences between the
cheeses.
Prepare for the activity.
1. Buy three or four kinds of cheese. Buy one cheese that is familiar to the children, such as American or
mozzarella. Buy two or three kinds of cheese that may be new to children, such as Swiss, Colby, white
cheddar, or Gouda.
2. Cut small slices of each cheese for children to taste. Arrange cheese on a platter.
Lead the activity.
1. Tell the children they will taste different kinds of cheese. Ask
them to tell what kind of cheese they have eaten. Help children think
about foods made with cheese, such as pizza, macaroni and cheese.
2. Show children the platter of cheese you prepared before class. Ask
them to tell how the different cheeses look alike and how they look
different (i.e., color, texture, firmness).
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3. Allow children to taste the cheese. Ask them to tell how each tastes and which cheese they liked best.
Activity: Strawberry Banana Smoothie
In this activity, children will help make fruit smoothies for tasting. Smoothies are milk based drinks
that can also include fruits. Smoothies are a tasty way to get children to eat more calcium rich foods
and fruits. Increase the recipe if used as a part of the CACFP snack.
Equipment and Supplies
• Blender
• Measuring cup
• Plastic serrated knife
• Small cups for tasting (one for each child)
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Ingredients
• 3 cups milk
• 2 ripe bananas
• 15 fresh or frozen strawberries
Directions
1. Peel the bananas and cut into slices.
2. Measure the milk and pour into the blender.
3. Add banana slices and strawberries to the blender.
4. Turn on the blender and mix until frothy.
5. Pour into tasting cups.
6. Enjoy!
Yield: 24 1-ounce tasting size servings
Here is a suggestion from a USDA site:
http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/index.php?mode=display&rec_id=204
Prepare for the activity.
1. Gather equipment and ingredients.
2. Make a recipe poster by writing the recipe above on large paper to display for children.
3. Have children wash their hands properly with warm running water and soap for at least 20 seconds,
then paper towel or air dry.
Lead the activity.
1. Ask the children where we get milk. Tell them that cows and goats on farms make milk. Milk comes on
delivery trucks (or from the grocery store) to the child care center.
2. Ask the children to imagine that a truck with milk and a truck with strawberries and bananas on it get
caught in a strong wind or tornado. The milk, strawberries, and bananas get all mixed together. Ask the
children to imagine what the milk, strawberries, and bananas would look and taste like.
3. Introduce the activity. Tell children that they will be making a special drink with fruit and milk called a
strawberry banana smoothie. Show the children the blender you will use to make the smoothies. Ask if
they know what it is and how it is used.
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5.
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Show the children the recipe poster you prepared.
Ask the children to describe the shape, color, and texture of each fruit before it is added to the milk.
Invite students to help prepare the smoothie.
Invite the children to taste the smoothie; taste it with them.
Try a New Recipe
Serve this tasty Broccoli Cheese Soup at lunch, supper, or snack. Tell the children that it contains milk
and cheese.
Chicken stock, non-MSG
Fresh carrots, ¼” chopped
Fresh onions, chopped
OR
Dehydrated onions
Margarine or butter
Enriched all-purpose flour
Lowfat 1% milk, hot
Salt
Ground black or white
pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Reduced fat cheddar
cheese, shredded
Frozen chopped broccoli
Broccoli Cheese Soup H-051
1 qt 1⁄2 cup
3 cups
1 1⁄2 cups
OR
1
⁄2 cup 2 Tbsp
2 oz
3
⁄4 cup 3 Tbsp
2 cups
1
⁄4 tsp
1
⁄8 tsp
⁄8 tsp
1 lb 3 oz
1
1 lb
In a heavy pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add carrots and onions. Boil until vegetables are
tender, approximately 10 minutes. In a separate heavy pot, melt margarine or butter. Whisk in flour
and cook for 2 minutes. Do not brown. Slowly add hot milk. Continue to whisk until smooth.
Slowly add stock and vegetables. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Whisk to blend. Simmer until
thickened, about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add cheese, whisking occasionally until
cheese is melted. Add broccoli. Stir occasionally. Heat to 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds.
Hold for hot service at 140 °F or higher. Portion with 4 oz ladle (1⁄2 cup).
Number of servings: 25
Serving size: 1⁄2 cup (4 oz ladle) provides 3⁄4 oz cheese and 1⁄4 cup of vegetable.
USDA Recipes for Child Care. Available online at www.nfsmi.org.
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Breakfast Menus
Applesauce
Pancake A-051
Banana slices
Milk
Monday
Lunch Menus
Beef Patty
D-04D1
Green beans
Peach halves
Milk
Monday
Snack Menus
Lowfat yogurt
Graham crackers
Water4
Monday
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Baked French
Toast Strips
J-032
Sliced fresh
strawberries
Milk
Oatmeal with
Kiwi wedges
Milk
Tuesday
Grilled chicken
Green salad with
shredded carrots
and lowfat salad
dressing
Pear halves
Mexican Style
Cornbread
Squares A-101
Milk
Wednesday
Roasted turkey
breast
Potato Patty I-041
Tomato Pasta Soup
H-061
Milk
Teriyaki Chicken
D-121
Steamed carrots
Diced apricots
Brown rice
Milk
Pizza with Cheese
Topping D-23A1
Steamed broccoli
Pineapple wedges
Milk
Cheddar cheese
Apple slices
Water4
Whole wheat bread
with peanut
butter5
Water4
Peach Muffin
Squares A-16A1
Milk
Water4
String cheese
Grape halves
Water4
Tuesday
Wednesday
Wednesday
raisins3
Toasted oat cereal
Mixed fruit
Hard cooked egg
Milk
Cut Biscuit Using
Master Mix
A-09B1 with
all-fruit spread
Orange sections
Milk
Tuesday
Thursday
Thursday
Thursday
Friday
Friday
Friday
Recipes for Child Care. Available online at www.nfsmi.org.
Recipes for Schools. Available online at www.nfsmi.org.
3Raisins may be a choking hazard for very young children.
4Water is suggested as a beverage for all snacks even when other beverages are offered to encourage
children to drink water.
5Sunflower butter can be substituted for peanut butter.
1USDA
2USDA
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Books about Milk and Milk Products
•
•
•
•
Milk to Ice Cream by Inez Snyder
Baby Whales Drink Milk by Barbara Juster Esbensen
Milk: From Cow to Carton by Aliki
The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons
Sources
National Dairy Council. (2008, August). Nutrition explorations: Chef Combo® milk blender special.
Retrieved from http://www.nutritionexplorations.org/index.asp
National Food Service Management Institute. (2004). More than mudpies: A nutrition curriculum
guide for preschool children (4th ed). University, MS: Author.
National Food Service Management Institute. (2009). Serving it safe (3rd ed). University, MS: Author.
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Food Nutrition Service, & National Food Service Management
Institute. (2005). USDA recipes for child care. Retrieved from http://www.nfsmi.org
Subscribe to Mealtime Memo for Child Care online at www.nfsmi.org and
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The University of Mississippi is an EEO/AA/TitleVI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this
institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights; Room, 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call
(202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
F o r m o r e i n f o r ma t io n , c on t a c t N F S M I a t 8 0 0 - 3 2 1 - 3 0 5 4 o r ww w . n f s m i. or g .
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