Healthy dairy foods

Reduced-fat dairy is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Most people aren’t getting enough of this food group – try to find ways to include these foods every day.

Eating reduced-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a heart-healthy diet can also protect against heart disease and stroke, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and some cancers. These foods provide calcium, protein, vitamins A and D, iodine, zinc and vitamins B6 and B2 (riboflavin).

Most of the fat in milk, cheese and yoghurt is saturated. Cutting down how much saturated fat you eat is important for heart health. That’s why we recommend replacing full-fat dairy products with reduced-fat ones.

It's important to choose unflavoured varieties of milk and yoghurt as they can have added sugar in them.

How much to eat

Aim for 2-4 serves of reduced-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt or alternatives each day. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that reduced-fat dairy products are best for most people over 2 years old.

The recommended number of serves depends on your age and gender. For more information on what’s right for you, visit the Australian Dietary Guidelines website or talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

What is a serve?

Milk, cheese, yoghurt and alternatives:

  • UHT long life milk, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk: 1 cup (250 ml)
  • Evaporated milk: 1/2 cup (120 ml)
  • Hard cheese (e.g. cheddar): 2 slices (40 g)
  • Ricotta cheese: 1/2 cup (120 g)
  • Yoghurt: 3/4 cup (200 g)
  • Soy or other serial drinks (with at least 100 mg of added calcium per 100 ml): 1 cup (250 ml)

Tips for including reduced-fat dairy in your diet

  • Enjoy a bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal with reduced-fat unflavoured yoghurt or milk, fruit, nuts and seeds to start your day.
  • Enjoy a reduced-fat latte on your way to work.
  • Include reduced-fat yoghurt instead of cream or butter at the end of cooking soups and curries to add a creamy texture. Add the yoghurt at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t split.
  • Add reduced-fat cheese with tomato and avocado to wholegrain crackers.
  • Have reduced-fat yoghurt and berries as a 3 pm pick me up.

Tips for including dairy in your diet

  • Enjoy a reduced fat latte on your way to work.
  • Enjoy a bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal with reduced fat yoghurt or milk, fruit, nuts and seeds to start your day.
  • Include reduced fat yoghurt or evaporated milk instead of cream or butter at the end of cooking soups and curries to add a creamy texture. Add the yoghurt at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t split.
  • Add reduced fat cheese with tomato and avocado to wholegrain crackers.

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