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    Milk and milk products are one of the main food groups in the Food Pyramid.

    Not many of us sit around drinking milk with dinner anymore. But a few simple tricks can help you enjoy nutrient-packed, milk and other dairy foods from day to day.

    Making Milk a Habit

    • Include milk as a beverage at meals. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk.
    • If you usually drink whole milk, switch gradually to fat-free milk, to lower saturated fat and calories. Try reduced-fat (2%), then low-fat (1%), and finally fat-free (skim).
    • If you drink cappuccinos or lattes, ask for them with fat-free (skim) milk.
    • Add fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal and hot cereals.
    • Use fat-free or low-fat milk when making condensed cream soups (such as cream of tomato).
    • Have fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a snack.
    • Make a dip for fruits or vegetables from yogurt.
    • Make fruit-yogurt smoothies in the blender.
    • For dessert, make chocolate or butterscotch pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk.
    • Top cut-up fruit with flavored yogurt for a quick dessert.
    • Top casseroles, soups, stews, or vegetables with shredded low-fat cheese.
    • Top a baked potato with fat-free or low-fat yogurt.

    Not Into Milk?

    If you're lactose intolerance, the most reliable way to get the health benefits of milk is to choose lactose-free alternatives, such as cheese, yogurt, or lactose-free milk. You can also take the enzyme lactase before eating or drinking milk products.

    Calcium choices for those who do not consume milk products include:

    • Calcium-fortified juices, cereals, breads, soy beverages, or rice beverages
    • Canned fish (sardines, salmon with bones), soybeans, and other soy products (soy-based beverages, soy yogurt, tempeh), some other dried beans, and some leafy greens (collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy). The amount of calcium that can be absorbed from these foods varies.

    WebMD Public Information from the United States Department of Agriculture

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