The Right No-Gut Milk for You (and Your Kids)

By Samantha Mark, CD, RDN

As kids, most of us were told to drink our milk every day, or it it seemed like it. Well, milk is still a great beverage choice, and it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Pour yourself an ice-cold glass, add it to your cereal, blend it into a smoothie or enjoy it with a meal. A good goal is to aim for three servings of dairy each day, and you can start with milk.

The trick is to choose the right milk to benefit your diet. While 2% milk is a better choice than whole milk, 1% and skim (fat-free) milk get the gold stars.

Skim milk and 1% milk contain just as much protein, vitamin D and calcium as their full-fat counterpart. They can be used in the same ways and usually be substituted for full -fat milk. Fat-free milk is, well, fat-free and 1% milk only contains about three grams of fat.

In addition to calcium and vitamin D, milk contains multiple nutrients that can benefit your health including: vitamin A, and B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B12.

According to the National Dairy Council, newer research is showing that consuming three servings of milk (or cheese or yogurt) as part of a well -balanced (and nutrient rich) diet may help to maintain a healthy weight.

If you are concerned about lactose intolerance, there are lactose-free milk products available. If you choose to switch to an almond, rice or coconut milk product, be advised that they contain less protein and could potentially have a higher sugar content, if they are flavored. The good news is they are usually contain as much calcium and vitamin D as other milk products.

Soy milk can be another lactose-free alternative; it is also vegetarian friendly. Soy milk contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk and is cholesterol free.

If you have little ones at home, try incorporating dairy products at meals and snacks to ensure they get enough servings.  And while you’re at it, have a glass yourself!

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