Why are milk products important?

Milk products provide protein, vitamins, and minerals. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the best source of calcium. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese a day - 2 for most people, and 3 for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, teenagers, and young adults to age 24.

What counts as a serving?

1 cup of milk or yogurt

1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese

2 ounces of process cheese

Here are some selection tips:

-Choose skim milk and nonfat yogurt often. They are lowest in fat.

-1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese and 8 ounces of yogurt count as a serving from this group because they supply the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk.

-Cottage cheese is lower in calcium than most cheeses. One cup of cottage cheese counts as only 1/2 serving of milk.

-Go easy on high fat cheese and ice cream. They can add a lot of fat (especially saturated fat) to your diet.

-Choose "part skim" or low fat cheeses when available and lower fat milk desserts, like ice milk or frozen yogurt.


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