Milk in Your Sports Nutrition Plan

Your everyday sports nutrition plan should include milk, yogurt, soy alternatives, and similar calcium sources.

  • Are all products whole foods?

  • Liquid milk is considered a whole food. Plain yogurt is close. Flavored yogurts are often processed with added sugars, flavorings and colorings. Most ice cream and pudding is a far reach from a whole food (sorry).

  • Am I getting enough daily servings?

  • The current guideline is 3 cups everyday. One group in the food industry suggests 24 ounces in 24 hours, an easy way to remember the goal.

  • What is a serving size?

  • 1 cup liquid or yogurt, 1½ ounces hard cheese, 2 ounces processed cheese, 2 cups cottage cheese, (1 cup frozen yogurt, or 1 cup pudding, but these are not whole foods). A serving of liquid dairy contains 12 grams of carbohydrate and 8 ounces of protein.

  • What if I don’t like or can’t drink milk?

  • The soy or rice versions are an excellent alternative. Look for brands that are calcium-fortified. Lactose-reduced forms are available for women who get gassy from cow’s milk. Discuss any food allergies with your medical professional.

  • How will this food group impact my training?

  • Milk products provide carbohydrate and protein , so they are a great combination for sports nutrition snacks . This food group is low fiber, but the lactose content should be tested in training for tolerance (gas, diarrhea). This food group does provide fluids and sodium, so it fits well into a sports nutrition training plan. The calcium available is used for muscle and nerve function.

  • How will this food group impact my lifetime fitness?

  • Active women get the benefit of bone strengthening during exercise. Calcium is a mineral that is necessary, along with activity, to maintain strong bones and slow the progression of osteoporosis. It is ideal for bone health because it is also a good source of Vitamin D. If you do not drink or eat from this food group, you must consider calcium-fortified foods (such as some juices and breads) and/or a calcium nutrition supplement and get some daily sunshine. Select non-fat (skim) products to avoid the saturated fat and extra calories. If you must, use 1% or 2% versions, but avoid whole fat choices.

    Are you ready to set a goal for your training plan that includes milk? First think about adjusting the servings or the fat content. Add chocolate if you need extra calories. Maybe it is time for a calcium fortified foods or a calcium supplement. Ready, set, go!

    Return to whole foods in sports nutrition.