Dairy lovers unite! You can have your rich, creamy dairy -- and still be healthy. No, really. We mean it.
Sometimes, the dairy craving strikes so hard and furious that you feel like you have to indulge it -- ASAP. All you want is something rich and creamy. So how can you satisfy your craving with a healthy dairy product?
It's easy -- especially since dairy is pretty healthy. Dairy products contain essential nutrients like calcium, which is vital for healthy bones. The key is to avoid dairy products with lots of fat and sugars. Here's what the experts said are your best bets.
Greek yogurt is all the rage … and for good reason. The thicker, creamier yogurt goes through an extra straining process to get it just so, and that makes it even more healthy than regular yogurt when you have the same portion size. "Dairy foods are kind of known for having the most calcium. Greek yogurt actually has twice the amount of regular yogurt," says registered dietitian Ann Dunaway Teh.
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FroYo has gotten a whole new (and better!) rep thanks to the proliferation of popular chains that cater to the yogurt-loving crowd. And yes, in moderation, this is a good way to quench that dairy craving. "There are the frozen yogurts that are all the rage now, but you have to be careful with the toppings -- watch portions too," says Dunaway Teh. "You can go with the reduced-fat ice cream and it's all about watching your portion size."
They say that milk does a body good, and they are so right. Opt for the low-fat or non-fat versions, which have all the great nutrients -- with less fat. "Low fat dairy really packs in the calcium. An eight-ounce glass of non-fat cow's milk provides about 500 milligrams of calcium daily, which is 50% of daily requirements for most people," says Rosanne Rust, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant who co-authored three books, including The Calorie Counter for Dummies.
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Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert … there isn't an occasion when a smoothie isn't a fabulous idea. As long as you are smart with your ingredients, this is a great way to satisfy the dairy craving. "Try a homemade smoothie made with non-fat vanilla yogurt and 1/2 cup of fresh fruit," suggests Rust.
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Sometimes nothing other than real cheese will do. So go for it. Experts say to opt for a healthier variety, and pair it with fruit. "Go for a piece of low-fat string cheese with a fresh orange," says Rust.
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