UNITED STATES—The food pyramid group carefully shapes out for Americans how important having a balance of all the food groups to maintain a healthy body. While many may suspect that fruits and veggies are being ignored, I’ve come to discover many people are forgetting about the dairy group. Yeah, dairy! I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a breakfast person. I can skip lunch which I shouldn’t, I can go an extended time frame before dinner, but breakfast I gotta have it.

It is my fuel for the day. So many people forget about this. The body in the morning is at its weakest; without that fuel from breakfast the body is running on little to no energy, which can cause the body to crash at any given moment. For many a bowl of cereal is sufficient which is great. It allows children especially to put calcium into the body thanks to milk.

Milk is indeed vital for the body, even though it can be a difficult task for many people because so many people are lactose intolerant. If that is the case there are many more alternatives nowadays like almond milk and coconut milk.  Even if it’s just a glass of milk a day, it’s better than no milk at all. Remember calcium is vital to building strong bones. Those who fail to consume that important mineral discover as they age, their bones becoming more brittle and fragile.

Guess what milk is not your only option when it comes to dairy. You have cheese. Now cheese is not always the healthiest option especially if you’re consuming cheeses high in fat content. So do consider that at all times. A variety of different cheeses is good for the body if you ask me. Staying away from processed cheeses like American is quite important. You can aim for natural cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella and Swiss. I’ve seen kids eating plain cheese slices without anything else, which is difficult for me, but if your child loves it so do I.

Yogurt is other dairy option that is so forgotten by many Americans. Out of everyone in my family me and my nephew are the only ones who consume yogurt. Picking the right yogurt can be tricky because many contain fat and added sugars which are not the best for the body. If you’re looking for the perfect yogurt nothing beats plain yogurt which contains pro-biotics which are important for the body. While plain yogurt isn’t the tastiest, you can change that by adding fresh fruit. Why purchase the yogurt with fruit at the bottom of the cup, when you can cut up your own strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries and peaches. It’s better to have a natural sugar than an added sugar.

Other options for dairy include puddings and ice cream; remember with those treats to consume them in small doses.  If you choose ice cream consider sugar content and fat, as many ice creams are loaded with things that most of us have no idea about.

While dairy may not be at the top of many people’s list when it comes to the food group, it’s an important group that should not be ignored because the body does need it.