Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
Dairy foods are a great source of calcium, protein and vitamins. Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
What is included in the dairy food group?
Milk, yoghurt, cheese, quark, fromage frais and cream cheese are the dairy foods that are included. Butter, cream and luxury yoghurts are high in fat and are foods to eat less often and in small amounts. Non-dairy alternatives include plant-based drinks, such as soya milk, yoghurts and cheeses.
How much should I eat?
Different age groups need different amounts of these foods.
What is a portion?
- One glass (200ml) milk/fortified plant-based alternative
- One pot (125g) yoghurt
- One bottle (200ml) yoghurt drink
- Two thumbs (25g) hard or soft cheese
- Choose lower fat options, these provide the same amount of calcium but are lower in fat and calories
- For products like cheese and yogurt, check the label and go for ones lower in fat and sugars
- Choose milk and yoghurt more often than cheese. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein but can be high in fat and salt
- If you’re using cheese to flavour a dish or a sauce, use smaller amounts of ‘mature’ or stronger flavoured cheeses like blue cheese
- Luxury yoghurts are generally high in fat, treat them as a dessert
- Plain lower fat yoghurts are a great choice for dessert with fruit
- Use low-fat milk in milk-based desserts and savoury sauces
- Plant-based dairy alternatives are naturally lower in calcium so check the label and choose those with added calcium.
Healthy eating guidelines for children aged 1 to 4
These foods provide calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Offering milk as a drink with meals is an easy way to give your child one of the three daily servings they need. During the first year of life milk is the most important part of a child’s diet. It will continue to be a key element of diet for 1-4 year olds as the continue to increase the amounts of the other types of foods they eat.
How much should kids eat?
- Children need 3 servings a day
- Breastmilk counts towards these servings. Breastfeeding mothers can add cow’s milk to their child’s cereal or offer cow’s milk as a drink. It is important to include yogurt and cheese also to help meet your child’s nutritional needs
What is a portion?
- 200ml or 2x 100ml plain milk or milk with added vitamins
- 200ml or 2x 100ml unsweetened soya drink fortified with calcium
- 1 pot (125) plain yogurt
- 2 small pots (47g) plain or natural fromage frais
- 25g cheese or 2 adult thumbs of cheese
- Homemade custard or rice pudding made with 200ml of milk
Healthy Eating Tips
- Offer full-fat milk to children aged 1 to 2 years.
- You can offer low-fat milk to children aged 3 to 4 years.
- Small pots (47g) of plain or natural fromage frais can be offered with meals or between meals
Cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice | Vegetables, salad and fruit | Milk, yogurt and cheese | Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts | Fats, spreads and oils | Food high in fat, sugar and salt