Delicious Dairy Group

Dairy is delicious! Do you remember what foods are in the dairy group?

That’s right! Milk, and things made from milk, like cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Soymilk is in the dairy group too because it naturally has protein and is fortified with calcium like what is found in milk.

Grown-ups, teens, and big kids need about 3 cups of dairy a day. Children 4 to 8 years old need 2 1/2 cups; and children 2 to 3 years need about 2 cups from the dairy group a day.*

What counts as a cup in the Dairy Group?
• 1 cup milk, yogurt or calcium-fortified soy beverage
• 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese (about the size of 3 standard game dice) or 1/3 cup shredded cheese
Other measurements:
• 1/2 cup ice cream = 1/3 cup equivalent of dairy
• 1/2 cup cottage cheese = 1/4 cup equivalent of dairy
• 1/2 cup frozen yogurt = 1/2 cup equivalent of dairy

Where can you find the dairy group?

It starts out just where you’d think: on a dairy farm! The cows spend all day eating grass and making milk. When their udders get full, the cow walks up to the dairy barn to be milked. Cows can be taught to walk right up to their milking station.

Back in the old days, someone had to milk the cow by hand into a bucket, then dump the milk into a bigger bucket to use to make cheese or ice cream. Now, dairy farms have handy pumps that take the milk right from the cow, into a hose, and off to be put in a bottle, or made into something else. This works with goats too, and lots of people around the world drink goats’ milk or make it into yummy cheese or yogurt.

Soymilk counts as a dairy food, even though it comes from a bean instead of an animal. All you hav to do it smash the daylights out of a lot of soybeans, then strain out the bean bits! Usually this is done by big machines, and they add calcium to help your bones get strong when you drink it.
What about calcium fortified almond, cashew, and rice milks? These plant-based milks do not count as a dairy food. While they may have calcium (if it was added to it when it was made) they do not have the other nutrients contained in dairy, such as protein, to be considered a dairy food.

What food from the Dairy Group is your favorite?

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