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Nutrition Tip of the Week - Getting Your Dairy (Part II)

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

Last week we talked about the importance of dairy and how we can make good dairy choices. This week we'll follow that up with a few more tips. But before we do, let's not forget that the Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soymilk and choices should be low fat or fat-free-to cut calories and saturated fat. The amount of dairy that we need also varies depending on our age range. Older children, teens, and adults need 3 cups* a day, while children four to eight years old need 2½ cups, and children two to three years old need 2 cups. Now take a look below for more tips!

  • Ingredient switches. When recipes such as dips call for sour cream, substitute plain yogurt. Use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream, and try ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.


  • Choose sweet dairy foods with care. Flavored milks, fruit yogurts, frozen yogurt, and puddings can contain a lot of added sugars. These added sugars are empty calories. You need the nutrients in dairy foods, not these empty calories.


  • Caffeinating? If so, get your calcium along with your morning caffeine boost. Make or order coffee, a latte, or cappuccino with fat-free or low-fat milk.


  • Can't drink milk? If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk, drink smaller amounts of milk at a time, or try soymilk (soy beverage). Check the Nutrition Facts label to be sure your soymilk has about 300 mg of calcium. Calcium in some leafy greens is well absorbed, but eating several cups each day to meet calcium needs may be unrealistic.


  • Take care of yourself and your family. Parents who drink milk and eat dairy foods show their kids that it is important. Dairy foods are especially important to build the growing bones of kids and teens. Routinely include low-fat or fat-free dairy foods with meals and snacks - for everyone's benefit.


* What counts as a cup in the Dairy Group? 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

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