We've recently caught up with Sydney-based dietitian Skye Swaney to hear more about the importance of dairy and why she thinks milk powder is an amazing ingredient to use in the kitchen.
Dairy is an important source of protein and carbohydrates, and is also one of the best sources of calcium in our diet. Calcium is a mineral that helps to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth, and is also involved in blood clotting and muscle function.
Our bodies are very good at keeping the level of calcium in our blood stable, however, this means that if we don’t get enough calcium in our diets, it is taken out of our bones to maintain adequate levels in our blood. Over time, this can result in bones becoming porous and losing strength, which can result in osteoporosis.
Calcium is deposited into bones during childhood and throughout our teenage years, and our bones reach their maximum density when we’re in our early 20s. After this, calcium is slowly lost out of our bones, especially in women after menopause. For this reason, it’s really important that we have enough calcium in our diet throughout our lives so that our bones stay as strong and healthy as possible.
“It wasn’t until I had children and wanted to find a way to sweeten snacks and desserts without adding sugar that I started to experiment with milk powder, and I wish I’d discovered it earlier!” – Skye Swaney
Nutritious like fresh milk
Milk powder is produced from fresh milk through a drying process called spray drying, which is carefully designed to maintain the nutrients present in fresh milk. Like fresh milk, milk powder contains high quality protein, carbohydrates and calcium as well as other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines state that consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer – some of the main causes of death in Australia. Including dairy foods in your diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight and has been shown to play an important role in sport and exercise performance.
Milk powder: not just a milk replacement
Growing up, milk powder was something we always had in the cupboard but to be honest, I never really took much notice of it. It wasn’t until I had children and wanted to find a way to sweeten snacks and desserts without adding sugar that I started to experiment with milk powder, and I wish I’d discovered it earlier!
My secret ingredient
Milk powder is now the ‘secret ingredient’ in many of the meals and snacks I make for my family. I use it in bliss balls, muffins, smoothies, soups and in my family’s favourite veggie bake.
I love the fact that milk powder adds a natural sweetness to recipes such as bliss balls that you don’t get from adding regular milk.
This is thanks to the milk solids, which also act as a healthier alternative to added sugar. In soups, milk powder adds a creaminess without adding extra fluid, and, as it’s concentrated, it contains a considerable amount of high-quality protein so it can be used instead of protein powder for a post workout shake or smoothie.
And of course, I always make sure I have milk powder in the cupboard so that if we ever run out of milk, we have another option available, rather than having to forgo our morning coffee or cereal (which would be a terrible start to the day!). Our toddler happily drinks milk made up from milk powder, in fact I think he actually prefers it!
Check out our 6 Lifehacks using Milk Powder
Who is Skye Swaney?
Skye Swaney is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian, nutritionist and founder of www.shiftnutrition.com.au. During her 10-year career, she has worked in hospitals, the corporate sector, non-profit organisations and private practice.
Skye is passionate about teaching people the power of eating well in optimising both physical and mental health. Through her work, she aims to help cut through the confusion about nutrition and make healthy eating easy.
Follow Skye on Instagram: @shiftnutrition