In this article, you will find information for the general public who are interested in knowing about healthy eating and dairy and alternatives in the diet.

We will cover:

Key messages:

  • This group is a really important part of a healthy, balanced diet, as these foods are good sources of protein and some vitamins. But most importantly, in the UK they are an important source of calcium and also iodine.
  • The calcium in dairy foods is particularly good for us because our bodies absorb it easily.
  • Try to use lower sugar and lower fat versions of dairy foods and drinks where possible, as some options can be high in saturated fat and sugar.

Why eat these foods?
These foods provide a range of nutrients:

  • Calcium – for the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones.
  • Protein – for growth and repair function. 
  • Iodine – important for healthy nerve and brain function, and healthy skin.
  • Vitamin B12 - for healthy red blood cells and nerve function.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – to help release energy from carbohydrate and protein.

What counts?

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Fromage frais
  • Cream cheese
  • Quark
  • Dairy calcium-fortified alternatives to these foods, such as soya drinks, soya yogurts, and oat, nut and rice milks.

NOTE: Butters, creams and dairy ice-creams are not included in this group as they are high in saturated fat, and so are included in ‘foods to eat less often and in small amounts’.

Next page: Dairy alternatives

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