Add or Consume More Dairy

What’s Inside

What’s IN

  • Variety of dairy products, in moderation, can easily be part of mixed meals or mixed snacks with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, or nuts and seeds.
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk (plain) or calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt (plain)
  • Low-fat or fat-free ricotta or cottage cheeses
  • Low-fat, low-sodium or no-added-salt hard cheeses

What’s OUT

  • Sweetened dairy products. You don’t need the added sugar! Look for unsweetened, plain dairy.
  • High sodium cheeses. Look for lower sodium or even no-added-salt cheese products.

Why This Is A Good Idea

Dairy foods are a protein- and calcium-rich food group. Low-fat or fat-free dairy, in moderation, can contribute to a healthier diet with the main benefit of improving and maintaining bone health. Other beneficial nutrients include vitamin D, potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium. Current recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines are for 2 to 3 cup equivalents per day.

Basic Tips

  • Check IN: Whenever you have a dairy source with your meal or snack.
  • Top your tacos or baked potato with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Make milk or yogurt the base of your fruit or veggie smoothie.
  • Make your own yogurt bars mixed with pureed fruit for an all-natural sweet treat.
  • Use low fat yogurt to make your next party or snack dip for fruits and veggies.
  • Choose a variety of cheese squares and fruit chunks for a decorative but flavorful kabob.
  • If lactose-intolerant, lactose alternatives can still be enjoyed such as cheese (such as cheddar, provolone, muenster), yogurt (such as Greek), or lactose-free milk.
  • Check the nutrient label as dairy products, like hard cheese, can have a high level of added sodium.

Shopping List

  • Go the Yogurt section and look for low-fat or fat-free plain yogurts. Add fresh fruit for natural sweetness.
  • Swiss cheese is a lower sodium hard cheese option. Also, soft cheese such as cottage or ricotta are naturally lower in sodium.

Recipes

Smart Things To Read And Watch

Note: Diet ID is not focused on the number on the scale. Weight loss can be a byproduct of developing healthier eating habits, but if you have questions about your weight, please contact your physician.