The role of dairy foods
Dairy foods provide protein and vitamins, and are an important source of calcium which is vital for strong bones and teeth.
Some dairy foods are high in both total and saturated fat. It is important to avoid eating too much saturated fat. Some types of cheese are also high in salt.
How often should I eat dairy foods?
You should aim to have some dairy every day.
Healthy dairy choices
- Try switching from whole (blue) to semi-skimmed (green), 1% fat (orange) or skimmed (red). Lower-fat milks contain a similar amount of protein, carbohydrate and calcium as whole milk; they just contain less total fat and saturated fat.
- Opt for lower-fat varieties such as Edam or reduced-fat hard cheese. Remember, however, that they are still high in total fat and saturated fat so it is important to keep an eye on portion sizes.
- Cottage cheese, Quark and reduced-fat cream cheeses are lowest in fat and salt.
- If you prefer higher-fat cheeses use small amounts.
- Make hard cheese go further by grating it.
- Use mature cheese – the flavour is stronger so a little goes a long way.
- Natural or low-fat Greek yoghurt is a healthy dairy choice.
- Opt for low-fat or diet yoghurts (these can be higher in added sugar, though, so it is important to check the label).