by Isabelle Workman
The Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy milk. They provide calcium, Vitamin D, potassium, protein and other nutrients.
1. Skim the fat – drink skim milk or low fat (1%) milk. If you have been drinking whole milk, switch to lower fat versions.
2. Boost potassium and vitamin D, and cut sodium – choose fat free or low fat milk and yogurt more often than cheese. Milk and yogurt have more potassium and less sodium than most cheese. Also almost all milk and many yogurts are fortified with Vitamin D.
3. Top off your meals – use fat free or low fat milk on cereals and oatmeal. Top fruit salad and baked potatoes with low fat yogurt instead of higher fat toppings such as sour cream.
4. Choose cheeses with less fat – look for reduced fat or low fat on the label.
5. Is cream cheese a part of the dairy group? No – cream cheese, creams, and butter are not part of the dairy group. They are high in saturated fat and have little or no calcium.
6. Switch ingredients – when recipes call for sour cream, substitute plain yogurt. Use fat free evaporated milk instead of cream, and low fat or fat free ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.
7. Take care of yourself and your family. Parents who drink milk and eat dairy show their kids that it is important to your health. Dairy foods are important to build growing bones in kids and teens and to maintain bone health in adulthood.