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 - but you should 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 flavoured options 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 cereal drinks (with at least 100 mg of added calcium per 100 ml): 1 cup (250 ml)

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 when cooking soups and curries to add a creamy texture. Add the yoghurt or milk at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t split.
  • Add reduced-fat cheese with tomato and avocado to wholegrain crackers for a tasty snack. 

Learn more about eating healthily in our food and nutrition guide

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