DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) includes adding 2-3 servings of dairy daily. Dairy products are great sources of potassium, calcium, and protein. Smoothies are an excellent way to add more dairy, fruits, and vegetables to your diet. They also provide a nice addition of protein. You may already use milk or yogurt in your smoothies, but how about cottage cheese?
Friendship Dairies makes this “no salt added” low fat cottage cheese with only 45 milligrams of sodium per 90 calorie half-cup (and 16 grams protein). You will taste the difference without the salt, but you really won’t miss it. It’s a firmer consistency. You can enjoy it on your tossed salad, with fruit, or in a smoothie…however you like!
What about plant-based milks?
You may use a plant-based milk in your smoothie if you are a vegetarian or have an intolerance to cow’s milk. I often see folks shun dairy for no particular reason however, or for reasons that aren’t based in fact. Here are some common concerns:
- Sugar. Cow’s milk contains lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar. This is a form of carbohydrate (a form of energy). There are about 12 grams of sugar per 8 fluid ounces of milk (regardless of fat content). This is not “added sugar” and is no cause for health concern. Some folks are lactose intolerant however. Low lactose brands, such as Fair Life®, or Lactaid® are usually well-tolerated.
- When it comes to lowering blood pressure, the DASH trials specifically included dairy (low fat cow’s milk products) in the meal plans for the research. The inclusion of dairy lowered blood pressure further than the inclusion of the fruits and vegetable servings alone. So if you have high blood pressure, or a family history of it, including dairy is a wise choice (learn more about DASH).
- Even though you find plant-based alternatives right next to cow’s milk in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, they are not the same nutritionally. An 8-ounce glass of cow’s milk provides 8 times the protein of an almond milk beverage.
Try this protein-packed recipe the next time you whip up a healthy smoothie.
High Protein Strawberry DASH Smoothie
- 1/2 cup low salt, low fat cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries can sub a banana or 1/2 cup of another berry or sliced mango
- Add all ingredients, in order, to blender or Nutribullet container. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glass and enjoy!