What do you think of when we say dairy? Milk? Yogurt? Cheese? Dairy comes in different forms and can be hidden in some basic recipes. If you know someone who claims they don’t eat dairy because “they don’t like it”, it’s likely because they haven’t found a way to prepare it that their taste buds will enjoy.
Cheese– Cheese is a very versatile food making it convenient for a multitude of recipes. You can add it to dishes or eat it alone. Add cheese to salads, sauces, pasta, and even desserts to jazz up your plate. Serve cheese with fruit or other finger foods to make a mess-free appetizer. There are more than 300 varieties of cheese, start with the basics like mild cheddar and work your way through until you find one you like!
Yogurt– There are 7 different types of yogurt; traditional, Greek, Australian, Icelandic, non-dairy, kefir, and lactose-free yogurt (Check out the types here https://www.wideopeneats.com/every-single-type-of-yogurt/). Most yogurts can be found in a variety of flavors to suit different tastes. If yogurt still isn’t for you and you’d still like to reap the benefits of eating it, just add it to a recipe! Using yogurt in anything from salad dressings and dips to chicken salad will hide the taste and texture of yogurt but you’ll still gain the nutritional benefits! Check out these recipes from the food network, https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-things-to-make-with-yogurt.
Milk– Milk varieties include whole milk, 1%, 2%, fat free, organic, lactose free, flavored, and raw. One of the most popular milk types is whole milk, it’s thick and has approximately 3.25% milkfat by weight causing it to be the highest in calories at around 150 calories/8oz cup. For the same size cup, low fat milk or 1% has only 100 calories. If you don’t enjoy drinking milk on its own, you can use milk instead of cream in coffee and tea, or instead of water in oatmeal and hot cocoa. Most milk is also fortified with vitamins, so including it in your diet is beneficial!
In the United States, one in three adults have high blood pressure or hypertension. Low-fat dairy foods with reduced saturated fat can help reduce blood pressure. Dairy is also beneficial because it reduces your risk in type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dairy foods are great sources of essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. A diet rich in vitamin D and proteins is crucial for bone health. If you get your recommended three servings a day of dairy, then you will build bone mass and overall, have better bone health throughout your life.
Certain yogurts have probiotics in them, live microorganisms that aid in good bacteria growth within your gut, improving health and reducing the risk of diseases. Some probiotics can help people who cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Including probiotics in your daily routine can help maintain overall health.
Whether you mask the dairy flavors and textures by adding it in a recipe or you eat it as is, there is no doubt that dairy has many health benefits. So, ask yourself; do I dairy?