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Food and Nutrition

Tips for Milk and Alternatives

Canada's Food Guide

Milk and Alternatives are easy to include at meals and snacks. Have milk or fortified soy beverages by the glass or use them in recipes. Find out more about how to choose milk and alternatives and great ways to enjoy them throughout the day.

Choosing Milk and Alternatives

Use these tips wherever you are - at home, at school, at work or when eating out!

Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day.

  • Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk. Check the food label to see if your soy beverage is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Select lower fat milk alternatives.

  • Choose yogurt with 2% milk fat (M.F.) or less. Some varieties are higher in calories and sugar. Check the food label
  • Look for reduced fat or lower fat cheeses. Lower fat cheeses generally have less than 20% milk fat (M.F.). You can also compare the Nutrition Facts tables to choose a lower fat cheese.
  • Limit cream cheese, ice cream, coffee cream, whipping cream, and sour cream. These foods are high in fat and calories.

Read Food Labels

All the information on the Nutrition Facts table is based on a specific amount of food. This amount may be different than one Food Guide Serving.

You can use the Nutrition Facts table to:

  • Compare products more easily;
  • Determine the nutritional value of foods; and
  • Help you choose a product with more or less of a particular nutrient.

Compare the Nutrition Facts table on yogurts and cheeses to make wise choices.

For example:

Product 1
Part Skim Cheese

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 slice (33 g)
Amount % Daily
Calories 95
Fat 6 g 9 %
Saturated 4 g
+ Trans 0.2 g
21 %
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 210 mg 9 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 11 g
Vitamin A 6 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 25 %   Iron 0 %

Product 2
Cheese

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 slice (30 g)
Amount % Daily
Calories 110
Fat 9 g 14 %
Saturated 5 g
+ Trans 0.4 g
27 %
Cholesterol 25 mg 8 %
Sodium 240 mg 10 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 6 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 20 %   Iron 0 %
 

Product 1 is lower in fat. It has 6g of fat whereas Product 2 has 9g of fat.

You can also use the % Daily Value to do a quick assessment of products.

Product 1 has a 21% Daily Value for saturated and trans fats while Product 2 has a 27% Daily Value for saturated and trans fats.

You can see that the lower fat version has fewer Calories and less fat.

Decreasing the fat content does not decrease the calcium content in the cheese. In fact, the lower fat version has a little more calcium.

You can also use the ingredient list to make informed food choices. For example, look at the ingredient list to see if your fortified soy beverage contains added sugar. Examples of sugars include corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, malt syrup, invert sugar and concentrated fruit juice.

Using Milk and Alternatives

Prepare milk and alternatives to create tasty meals and snacks!

  • Use milk or fortified soy beverages when preparing scrambled eggs, hot cereal, casseroles and soups.
  • Create smoothies by blending lower fat milk or fortified soy beverage with a combination of fresh or frozen fruits.
  • Try a lattÚ made with low fat milk or fortified soy beverage.
  • Add skim milk powder to smoothies or soups.
  • Use milk or fortified soy beverages to replace some or all of the water when reconstituting canned tomato or cream soups.
  • Serve vanilla or fruit-flavoured lower fat yogurt as a dip for fruit.
  • Add great taste with small amounts of strong flavoured cheese such as old cheddar, feta or goat cheese. Toss in salads, pasta dishes, burritos, tacos or on pizza.

Select lower fat milk and alternatives

  • Use low fat (skim, 1% or 2%) evaporated milk instead of cream in coffee or tea and in place of cream in soup recipes.
  • Enjoy lower fat yogurt on its own or mix with fruit and cereal.
  • Try a lower fat cheese such as reduced fat mozzarella, cottage or ricotta cheese in lasagnas and casseroles.
  • Use a "light" cheese in place of regular cheese in sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas.

Keep milk and alternatives fresh and safe to eat

  • Store milk products and cheeses in the refrigerator. Ensure milk products are well covered and the cheese is well wrapped.
  • Check the "best before" date and use milk products before the date expires.
  • Most processed cheeses and hard cheese can be kept for several months.

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