Doing dairy differently
Swapping full-fat dairy foods for low-fat varieties such as low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt and low-fat cheese is a simple swap that will help you to stay in shape.
Not only do dairy foods taste great on their own, they can add flavour and texture to many other dishes and they are jam-packed with goodness. Dairy is the body’s best source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth at every stage of life. One serve of low-fat dairy will deliver protein, vitamins and minerals.
Good food fact
Include low-fat milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives in your daily diet
Smart dairy swaps
Don’t give up dairy foods because you want to lose centimetres. The fact is that while full-fat dairy foods can increase the saturated fat content in your diet, low-fat dairy foods are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet
So Swap It, Don’t Stop It and you’ll find an enormous array of choices from low-fat spreads, milks and cheeses to low-fat custard and even low-fat ice-cream. These still contain all the calcium and nutrients without the extra fat
Start thinking like a swapper…
- Swap butter for a low-fat dairy spread, such as low-fat margarine.
- Swap coconut cream in cooking for evaporated skim milk with coconut essence.
- Swap a bowl of ice-cream and topping for a bowl of low-fat yoghurt with frozen berries.
- Swap a regular hot chocolate, cappuccino or latte for a skinny one and go easy on the sugar.
- Swap crackers and full-fat cheese for wholegrain crackers or wholegrain toast with cottage cheese or a slice of low-fat tasty cheese, fresh tomato and your favourite salad leaves.
- Swap a cream-based pasta sauce for low-fat ricotta cheese and vegies stirred through left over pasta for a quick lunch.
- Swap a fizzy drink or fruit juice for a smoothie – blend together low-fat milk, a chopped banana or fresh berries and a dollop of low-fat yoghurt
Dairy delights on a budget
Who doesn’t enjoy an occasional dairy-based treat like a bowl of ice-cream, a dollop of cream, a chocolate bar or a cheese platter? The good news is that you can make some simple swaps to these ‘sometimes’ foods to make them a little less layered with guilt and this way you can still enjoy them as an occasional snack.
- Swap using a large bowl for a small bowl when it comes to occasional treats such as ice-cream.
- Swap full-fat ice-cream for a low-fat ice-cream.
- Swap full-fat cream for low-fat cream or even better low-fat yogurt.
- Swap milk chocolate for a small piece of dark chocolate.
- Swap a large cheese platter for smaller pieces of low-fat cheese accompanied by vegetable sticks and pieces of fresh fruit.
- And, don’t forget to swap ‘often’ for ‘sometimes’.
Thanks to modern processing techniques, you need never run out of milk again. Try these long-life swaps to keep your pantry stocked and ready for all occasions.
- UHT skim milk should be a country pantry staple. It lasts for ages and means there’s always milk around when you need it.
- Skim milk powder will also last for a long time in the pantry – just mix with water to reconstitute as an alternative to fresh milk or you can add the powder directly to casseroles or soups to give them a cream-like texture.
- Low-fat evaporated milk comes in liquid form in large or small tins – add to sauces, soups and casseroles for a creamy texture and flavour without the extra kilojoules. You can even find a coconut flavoured low-fat evaporated milk which is the perfect partner for curries, and there’s now a soy evaporated milk alternative too.
Try something a little different
If you choose not to or can’t eat dairy products, there are plenty of non-dairy swaps that you can make. Always check to make sure calcium has been added. Here’s a selection to get you started
- Oat milk: a long-life option that has a slightly porridge-like flavour. Excellent for cereals and savoury dishes.
- Rice milk: another long-life champion; it’s thinner and sweeter than cow’s milk. Excellent for desserts and sweet drinks.
- Soy based options: there are many different options available including cheeses, cream, ice-cream, yoghurt and milk. They can be used in place of cow’s milk products and now come in many different flavours and varieties
Keep in mind
Reduced-fat, low-fat or skim dairy foods are not suitable for children under two years of age because of their high energy needs, so you’ll need to keep the full-fat variety on hand to make sure your kids are getting all the energy they need for growth and development. If you choose not to or can’t eat dairy products, there are plenty of non-dairy options, but check to make sure calcium has been added
For meal ideas and recipes with dairy and alternatives, including Vegie Frittata, visit the Swap It website: australia.gov.au/swapit
Swap It, Don’t Stop It
All information in this publication is correct as at March 2011