When you are trying to lose weight, dairy is often one of the food groups that people think they need to cut out.
In fact, including dairy in your weight loss diet can actually improve your results – and is a key to good health.
Dairy is an important source of protein in your diet. How does protein help? It makes you feel fuller for longer, meaning that you are more likely to eat less later on.
The tough part is standing in front of the fridges at the supermarket and wondering which products to buy.
Today we want to give you some information that might just help make the navigating a little bit easier.
Full cream milk, skim milk, light milk, soy milk, almond milk. There are so many varieties of milk available these days it can be hard to know where to start.
First of all, there is personal preference. Some people just prefer the taste of full cream milk in their morning cereal while others like skim milk for their Healthy Mummy Smoothies.
Some people find that dairy doesn’t sit well with them and they may choose to drink Almond Milk or Soy Milk as it doesn’t make them feel bloated or queasy.
You can read our overview of the different types of milk and how they are produced here.
The second part of the story is calories. As part of the Lose Baby Weight 28 Day Plan we recommend using light milk (in any form) as it means you are taking in less calories. For instance a 250ml glass of skim milk is 105 calories compared to a glass of full cream milk at 165 calories.
If you are one of those people that simply prefer the taste of full cream milk, you could consider just using a little bit less of it if you are concerned about the calories or watering it down. The other point to note is that full cream milk is higher in saturated fat that we should limit our intake of.
Take a peek at our Calorie Bible pages relating to dairy so that you can see the different calories for various types of milk.
You may be surprised to learn that Soy Milk is on the higher end of the calorie spectrum so opt for a low calorie soy milk if you are watching your calorie intake.
The third point to note is that some babies are dairy intolerant too. So if you are breastfeeding and consuming dairy it’s a good idea to keep on eye on your baby for any signs of discomfort. Always talk to your Doctor if you are worried.
Yoghurt is another section at the supermarket that is stacked with so many varieties, from full cream, added fruit, fat free, no added sugar, natural, Greek, lite and low fat. Where do you start?
A key point to remember is that ‘real’ yoghurt – that is natural or Greek yoghurt – should actually be a little bit sour. Real yoghurt isn’t sweet (though some of the big brands would have you think it is).
So you need to keep an eye on the sugar levels in the yoghurt’s nutrition panel. Anything over about 5-6% sugar per 100g means that the yoghurt has added sugars in it (from fruit or sugar or sweeteners).
Greek or natural yoghurt will generally have around 4-5% sugar but that is purely from the lactose in the milk used to make it, which is fine.
You’ll often find that the ‘low fat’ or ‘lite’ varieties of yoghurt are much higher in sugar than their regular cousins.
This is because when the company removes the fat from the yoghurt, the taste is compromised, so they add some sugars in to make it taste better (you’ll find up to 8 teaspoons of sweetener in some brands). And if you are trying to lose weight, it’s a great idea to try and really cut down on your added sugar intake where possible.
So if you want to eat yoghurt for health and wellness (as well as taste!), we recommend you stick to natural or Greek yoghurts that are unflavoured. Natural yoghurt is the lower calorie choice over Greek, though Greek yoghurt tends to be creamier. For instance 100g of Jalna Natural Greek Yoghurt is 129 calories compared to the Jalna Fat Free Natural Yoghurt which has just 53 calories per 100g.
We’ve got all the popular brands and their corresponding calories in our Calorie Bible dairy section which might help you decide.
You could even try and make your own using our simple yoghurt recipe.
Here are some ideas for some healthy mix-ins that you can add to your plain yoghurt:
- fresh vanilla
- chopped melon
- stewed rhubarb
- raspberries or blueberries
- crushed nuts
- fresh strawberries
- chopped chunks of pineapple
- mashed banana
- pureed kiwi fruit
- chopped grapes
- mandarin segments
Try a few different brands until you find one that suits you in terms of its taste and texture. Then enjoy it as a healthy snack, in your cooking, or even in your Healthy Mummy Smoothies.
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