This post is sponsored by Midwest Dairy.

Happy Earth Day!

It’s time to celebrate all the ways that we can live more sustainably to take care of our planet.  With this year’s Earth Day theme, Restore Our Earth™, there will be three days of climate-action with virtual summits, workshops and panel discussions. The good news is at any age, you can get involved with making a positive impact on the environment – whether it be planting a garden, recycling boxes, cartons and bags and/or composting biodegradable food waste.

 

 

With land, water and air valuable shared resources, agricultural industries, such as the dairy industry, are committed to their protection.  Dairy farmers have set a goal to reduce their carbon footprint by 2050 with the Net Zero Initiative.

Did you know that the dairy industry contributes just 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions? Yet, it’s committed to lowering its environmental impact more with responsible and accountable farming practices by decreasing water usage, improving water quality, becoming more energy efficient and recycling manure to replenish the soil with natural fertilizer to yield better crops.

 

 

What I love about dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt is that they offer real nutrition.

Milk is packed with 13 essential nutrients {check out the linked infographic!} including:

  • Protein – healthy muscle growth, maintenance and bones.

  • Zinc – immune support and overall healthy growth.

  • Selenium – thyroid function and health, metabolism, immune support, and fending off oxidative damage in the cells.

  • Phosphorus – healthy bones and teeth, helps body use carbs and fats.

  • Calcium – heathy bones and teeth, enables blood to clot, muscles to contract and heart to beat.

  • Potassium – electrolyte that helps your muscles work, and controls your heart beat and breathing.

  • Iodine – thyroid function and health, controls growth, repair damaged cells  and supports a healthy metabolism.

  • Vitamins A – normal vision, immune support, reproduction and helps organs function properly.

  • Vitamin D – proper bone formation, teeth and muscles healthy.  Regulated calcium in the body and can help with immune support.

  • B2 (riboflavin) – normal cell growth and function.

  • B3 (niacin) – turns food into energy, helps nervous system, digestive system and keep skin healthy.

  • B5 (pantothenic acid) – turns food into energy and helps your body break down fats.

  • B12 (cobalamin) – helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy, helps make DNA and helps prevent anemia.

This is why it makes me feel good to add dairy to my family’s meals and snacks.  Today, I am whipping up a simple and tasty oatmeal cups – which are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.

 

In this recipe, I use milk with 2% fat, but feel free to use what you like. What I like is as it bakes it becomes an oatmeal consistency.   Of course, feel free to experiment with different nuts, seeds, spices and fruit in this recipe.  Be careful not to add to0 much more liquid, such as frozen fruit, as it might not set as well if there’s too much water in the mixture.

 

Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cups

2 cups milk

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 cup steel cut oats

½ cup dates, coarsely chopped

¼ cup pecans, chopped

½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 12 muffin tins lightly with grape seed or avocado oil and set aside.

Whisk together milk, syrup, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in oats, dates, pecans and baking powder.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Put in the oven and bake until set, about 25 – 30 minutes.  Let cool and pop out of tins.  Enjoy!  Store in an airtight container for a couple days.  Freeze, if desired.

*Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com. 

I’d love to hear your Earth Day stories.  If you’ve made any earth-friendly efforts in your home, community or school, please let me know by dropping me a note below.

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