I love dairy products but I hate milk (except when it's on cereal). I just can't stand the taste. Is that bad? Should I give it another try?
The reason experts (and parents!) tell us to drink milk is because of its bone-building calcium and other nutrients. The good news is you can get these same nutrients from other dairy products, like yogurt or cheese.
Recommended amounts of dairy for teens are 3 cups of milk or milk products, including fortified soy beverages, a day. So if you pour a cup of milk on your cereal, eat a cup of low-fat yogurt at lunch, and use about 1½ ounces of low-fat cheese in other foods, you're getting the recommended amount.
One thing everyone needs to watch out for is that some dairy products (usually the best-tasting ones, like ice cream!) can be high in fat and sugar. Regular cheese, including cream cheese, is high in fat and saturated fats. (Saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease.) Even low-fat yogurt can have a lot of sugar if it's flavored with fruit and other ingredients.
Don't let this put you off dairy — just don't eat too much of these products. Instead, choose low-fat or "lite" versions of dairy products, and those that are lower in sugar.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.|
|Vegetarian Resource Group This site offers recipes, nutrition information, and lots more for vegetarians and anyone looking to eat less meat.|
|Soy Connection The United Soybean Board offers tips and recipes for preparing soy foods.|
|ChooseMyPlate.gov ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.|
|Milk Matters: Calcium Education from the National Institutes of Health Milk Matters is a public health education campaign launched by the National Institutes of Health to promote calcium consumption among tweens and teens, especially during the ages of 11 to 15, a time of critical bone growth.|
|How Much Food Should I Eat? Lots of us don't realize we're eating too much because we've become so used to large portions. This article for teens helps you take control of your plate.|
|Figuring Out Fat and Calories From all you hear, you'd think fat and calories are really bad for you, but we all need a certain amount of them in our diets. Find out the truth about fat and calories.|
|Nutrition & Fitness Center Visit our nutrition and fitness center for teens to get information and advice on food, exercise, and sports.|
|Vitamin D Vitamin D has been called the new "wonder vitamin," but most teens aren't getting enough. Find out why vitamin D is important and how to get the right amount.|
|Smart Snacking Healthy snacks are essential for busy teens. Find out how eating small, nutritious meals throughout the day can keep your energy level high and your mind alert.|
|Calcium Your parents were right to make you drink milk when you were little. It's loaded with calcium, a mineral vital for building strong bones and teeth.|
|Bones, Muscles, and Joints Our bones, muscles, and joints form our musculoskeletal system and enable us to do everyday physical activities.|
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