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Dairy: An Important Food Group!

Dairy: An Important Food Group!

by Niamh Lonergan | 28th Oct 2021

Them bones, them bones need calcium!

Calcium is so important to keep our bones strong and to keep us staying fit and healthy as we get older. The recommended intake for adults is 800mg/day and this increases to 1200mg/day for teenagers, pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

The richest source of calcium in the diet is dairy- milk, cheese and yogurt. Three servings a day will help meet calcium needs of an adult or child; five servings are recommended during adolescence and pregnancy. 

Can I eat dairy if I'm trying to lose weight? 

Yes!

Dairy is a really important food group and should be included as part of a healthy, calorie controlled meal plan. There is no need to eliminate dairy completely from your diet while trying to lose weight!

In fact, evidence has shown that increasing low-fat dairy foods to 3-4 servings/day and/or increasing Calcium & vitamin D intake by supplements may be beneficial for weight loss and maintenance as well as leading to more favourable bone and body composition outcomes, particularly in postmenopausal women. 

How can I incorporate dairy into a healthy, balanced diet? 

- Watch your portions! While dairy is an important food group, it should be eaten in moderation which means no more than 3-4 servings per day. 

- Add milk into your tea/coffee

- Use milk instead of water in your porridge in the morning. This will not only add calcium to your diet but will also help to keep you full for longer! Try our Oatmeal with Greek Style Yoghurt, Fruit and Nuts for a calcium boost. 

- Have yoghurt with fruit/nuts as a snack. Greek yoghurt is a great option as it not only contains calcium but is also a great source of protein!

- Add calcium rich foods like cheese or leafy green veg to your evening dinners. Why not add our Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi to your shopping basket this week, a calcium rich dish which contributes 72% of an adults' recommended intake for the day!

- For vegans or those with a lactose intolerance, there are some other calcium sources that you can include in your diet, such as green vegetables, chia seeds, fortified bread and tinned fish. Foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D such as milk and yoghurt can also be useful. 

If you're unsure of what to eat to meet your calcium needs or how to incorporate dairy into your diet, why not book in for a consultation with one of our registered nutritionists. We're here to help you stay healthy and strong over the coming years and maintain optimum bone health as you get a little older!

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