The right amount of dairy for your diet

Here it is March. I wonder if it will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb?

With the current weather forecast, it sure looks like it’s going to be rainy and blustery for the first part of the month. And even though spring doesn’t seem like it can get here quick enough, the SUN Area Dairy Promotion already is planning the May pageant.

We are putting together a wonderful weekend of events in conjunction with the Middlecreek Valley Antique Association’s spring show, May 17 through19.

As I was researching what I would write about this month, I found a lot of information that wasn’t correct on the internet. Now, I know there is a very popular commercial on the airwaves about how they can’t put something on the internet that isn’t true, but I have checked it out on, an urban legend debunking site, and yes indeed, there are stories out there that just don’t have any truth in them at all.

When I was younger, my mom always told me, “Drink your milk, it’s good for you”. I always did, for a variety of reasons, but drinking that glass of milk was so much more appealing than the implied option of what would happen if I didn’t.

But in this confusing world of what should we to put in our bodies and how much of a good thing is too much, I thought I could shed some light on when children should drink milk and how much they should have.

First, let’s start with whole milk versus low-fat milk. Toddlers who are over 1 year old up to 2 years of age should be drinking whole milk. A toddler needs the fat for their brain and nerve development.

After age 2, you can switch them to fat-free or 1 percent milk. While children are still under 12 months old, they should remain on breast milk or formula.

Next, how much is enough? recommends a child that is 2 to 3 years old should have 2 cups of milk and 4 to 8 years old should drink 2 1/2 servings of milk. Everyone else should have 3 servings of milk every day.

What counts as a cup? Eight ounces of low-fat milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan and swiss, 2 ounces of American cheese or 1 cup of pudding made from fat free or low-fat milk, frozen yogurt or 1 1/2 cups of ice cream.

So, can you have too much of a good thing? Of course you can.

Dairy products are part of a nutritious diet and it’s important to make smart choices from every food group.

The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition that it needs is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.

My mother is a wonderful cook and has scores of cookbooks that she has acquired throughout her life.

Among her most treasured and used are those from the Pennsylvania State Grange. This is a recipe that has graced our table many times and is absolutely delicious.

Poppy Seed Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast

1 1/2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs

8 ounces sour cream

1 tablespoon poppy seed

1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup

1/2 stick melted butter

Cook and chunk chicken breasts. Place in a flat 9×13 dish. Mix sour cream and soup together in a bowl. Pour over chicken.

Prepare topping by combining cracker crumbs, poppy seeds and melted butter in a bowl. Sprinkle topping over chicken mixture.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F until hot and bubbly.

If you are looking for a low calorie dessert to serve this holiday season, try this.

It is low fat, low sodium and only 66 calories per serving. Best of all, it fulfills that need for something sweet and chocolaty.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse

1 package reduced calorie raspberry gelatin

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups whipped cream

1/2 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

In a medium bowl, combine gelatin, cocoa and sugar. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved.

Stir in orange juice and peel.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes or until mixture mounds when dropped from a spoon. With an electric mixer, beat gelatin mixture 3 minutes. Gently fold in whipped cream. Divide into 8 dishes.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Garnish with raspberries.

With Easter just around the corner, this is a recipe that my great-grandmother handed down to my mother.

With 10 children of various ages, money was scarce and Grammy Confer would make candies for her brood from this recipe during the holidays.

Easter Eggs (Buckeyes)

8ounces cream cheese

1/2pound butter

1teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2pounds confectioners sugar

16ounces creamy peanut butter

8ounces fine shredded coconut

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla, confectioners’ sugar and creamy peanut butter or coconut, depending on the type of eggs you want.

Put bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. Dip your hands in flour then roll the candy into egg or ball shapes.

Place in freezer again for 3 to 4 hours.

Melt milk or dark chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the candy in the chocolate. Set on waxed paper until hardened.


Young ladies between the ages of 8 and 23 are being recruited to serve in the promotion as dairy misses, maids, ambassadors and a newly crowned princess. Anyone that is interested in representing and promoting the dairy industry from Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Montour counties should contact Michelle Shearer at 568-2244 or

In Lycoming County, contact Ashley Furman at or 814-360-2265.

Franck, 17, is a junior at Mifflinburg Area High School and the SUN Area Dairy Princess serving Montour, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. She may be reached at Her column is published on the first Wednesday of each month.