Feb. 2 2017 08:00 AM

Three servings of dairy may be easier than you think.

Calf feeding shifts and early morning lectures never fail to leave me pressed for time when it comes to breakfast. Most days, I only grab an apple and my backpack before rushing out the door to class. But as a dairy farmer, I know just how important three servings of dairy can be to one’s diet.

After coming home from morning lectures a few days ago, I made a quick phone call to my mother to catch up on some things happening at our family farm. While on the phone, I threw together a quick sandwich and noticed just how much dairy resides in my apartment’s refrigerator.

“You should see our fridge, mom. We practically have a whole shelf dedicated to dairy,” I said. She laughed and noted, “That’s a good problem to have!”

My three roommates and I all have ties to the dairy industry, so it’s not uncommon for us to have large amounts of dairy products in our home. Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese take up most of our precious shelf space on a daily basis. As I looked over the vast amounts of dairy in our fridge, I wondered just how many college students share our dilemma. I came to the assumption that many, most likely, do not.

After hanging up the phone, I started to realize just how much dairy I have consumed as a college student. Cream cheese on bagels, yogurt in smoothies, and shredded cheese on just about everything. Not to mention the milk poured over cereal, the daily string cheese as a snack, and the occasional late night ice cream run. It was clear my roommates and I were definitely getting our three servings of dairy each day.

What about other college students? Are they also eating enough dairy products to maintain a healthy diet? If you take pizza out of the equation, then probably not.

Though college is a fun and exciting time for many students, it can wreak havoc on one’s diet. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes fall into the “I need something cheap and fast to eat” routine. Luckily, dairy can fall under that category.

There are plenty of recipes and quick snacks college students and young adults can eat that utilize dairy. Try filling up your mini fridge with yogurt, string cheese, and milk. It’s an easy way to maintain a healthy diet!

Taylor Leach

Taylor Leach grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Linwood, Kansas. Leach graduated with an associate’s degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College and now attends Oklahoma State University, majoring in animal science and agriculture communications. On campus, she is a member of the dairy club and also works on the university's dairy farm. Leach was the 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman summer editorial intern.