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Dairy

My Plate Message:  Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk

There are 3 main categories of dairy products, milk, cheese, and yogurt. These foods are important sources of essential nutrients that help keep our bodies and bones strong and durable.  These foods are also a great source of protein.  However, any dairy products can be high in saturated fat and we should try to choose low-fat or non-fat options when possible.  While full fat dairy products can be part of a healthy diet, they should be eaten in moderation.  

How much food from the dairy group is recommended?

 

Age

Recommended Amount

Children

2-3

4-8

2 cup equivalents

2 ½ cup equivalents

Girls

9-13

14-18

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

Boys

9-13

14-18

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

Women

19-30

31-50

51+

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

Men

18-30

31-50

51+

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

3 cup equivalents

What counts as 1 cup of equivalent dairy foods?

Food

Quantity

Milk

1 cup or 8 ounces

Evaporated Milk

1 cup

Yogurt

8 ounce container or 1 cup

Cheddar, Mozzarella, or Swiss Cheese

1 ½ ounces

Shredded cheese

1/3 cup

American Cheese

 

2 ounces

Cottage cheese

2 cups

Soy Milk fortified with calcium

8 ounces or 1 cup

Ice cream

1 ½ cups

**For more food items visit choosemyplate.gov

 

Health Benefits of consuming low fat or non-fat dairy products:

Milk contains nutrients that are essential to the body. There are a few very famous nutrients in milk that are essential. The nutrients are calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus.  These three nutrients all work together to benefit your bones, teeth, body tissues, nervous system, heart and muscles. Milk products naturally contain calcium and phosphorous.   Calcium forms bones and teeth and helps keep them strong.  Phosphorous aids in bone calcification.  These products contain no natural vitamin D but are fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium.?

Also, although milk is not considered a protein food according to MyPlate, it is still a good source of protein.

What’s the difference between full fat, low fat, and nonfat dairy products?

You can buy milk and milk products that are considered full fat, low-fat, or even nonfat.  These dairy products differ in both fat and calorie content, but all have the same amount of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous, and protein.  Here is how the different dairy products compare to each other:

Type of Milk

Calories in 1 cup

Fat in 1 cup

Cream

414

44 g. (28 g. saturated fat)

Half and Half

315

28 g. (17 g. saturated fat)

Whole

146

8 g. (5 g. saturated fat)

2 %

125

5 g. (3 g. saturated fat)

1 %

102

2 g. (2 g. saturated fat)

Skim or Nonfat*

80

0 g.

*Skim milk has less than 0.5 g. fat/serving so can be labeled as fat-free

Choosing low fat and nonfat dairy products will give you all the benefits of consuming this food group while reducing the amount of calories and fat in your diet. 

Try these food $ense recipes to increase your intake of low fat or non fat dairy foods: 

Popeye Smoothie

Skillet Lasagna

Yogurt Dip for Fruit

Tropical Blueberry Smoothie

Banana Strawberry ‘Ice Cream’

Cheesy Potato Soup