The dairy guidelines and tips that the USDA recommends as a healthy diet habit are:
- Dairy choices include all fluid milk products, milk-based desserts, cheese, yogurt and calcium fortified soymilk.
- Most milk choices should be low-fat or fat-free or they will count as empty calories. Cream cheese and butter are not now included in this group because they have little or no calcium.
- Sweetened milk products also will be adding empty calories.
- The daily dairy guidelines for milk are between 2 to 3 cups per day depending on your age.
- A cup of milk is the equivalent of 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 oz. of cheese, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese, 2 oz processed cheese, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, or 2 cups cottage cheese, 1 cup pudding, 1 cup frozen yogurt, or 1 1/2 cups of ice cream, or 1 cup calcium fortified soymilk.
- The health benefits of milk products are improved bone health, decreased cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lower blood pressure in adults.
- Milk gives us Calcium, Vitamin D, and Potassium.
- Gradually switch to lower fat or fat free milks.
- Order coffee drinks with skim milk.
- Add milk to hot cereals rather than water.
- Add milk to cream soups, eat yogurt for snacks, dips for veggies, yogurt smoothies, and puddings.
- Add cheese to casseroles, soups, stews, veggies, and use low or reduced fats.
- Top potatoes with yogurt.
- Avoid raw milks, and keep milk products refrigerated.
These are the recommendations according to the USDA as a healthy lifestyle solution. I am not 100% sold on this supposed healthy diet habit. It is very confusing to me how the countries with the lowest consumption of milk products actually have the lowest incidence of osteoporosis. The countries with the highest consumption of milk products also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis! Very confusing! Also, it is quite possible to get enough calcium by consuming healthy greens daily in your diet.
My recommendation for milk products would be to definitely purchase organic milk products only. Non-organic milk can be from dairy cows that have been fed genetically modified corn and other feed. This does not agree with them. They must be given antibiotics to avoid sickness. They may also be given hormones to increase their milk production. You are drinking these hormones and antibiotics. Avoid them by purchasing organic milk products is my lifestyle solution! And eat your greens! Mom was right!