What Foods Are Included in the Dairy Group?

swiss cheeseAll fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group.

Key Consumer Message

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

View the Dairy Group Food Gallery

Commonly eaten dairy products

    • Milk*
      all fluid milk:

      • fat-free (skim)
      • low fat (1%)
      • reduced fat (2%)
      • whole milk
      • flavored milks:
        • chocolate
        • strawberry
      • lactose-reduced milks
      • lactose-free milks
    • Milk-based desserts*

    • Calcium-fortified soymilk
      (soy beverage)

    • Cheese*

      • hard natural cheeses:
      • soft cheeses:
        • ricotta
        • cottage cheese
      • processed cheeses:
        • American
    • Yogurt*
      all yogurt:

      • fat-free
      • low fat
      • reduced fat
      • whole milk yogurt

*Selection Tips

fat-free milk
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you choose milk or yogurt that is not fat-free, or cheese that is not low-fat, the fat in the product counts against your maximum limit for "empty calories" (calories from solid fats and added sugars).
  • If sweetened milk products are chosen (flavored milk, yogurt, drinkable yogurt, desserts), the added sugars also count against your maximum limit for "empty calories" (calories from solid fats and added sugars).
  • For those who are lactose intolerant, smaller portions (such as 4 fluid ounces of milk) may be well tolerated. Lactose-free and lower-lactose products are available. These include lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk, yogurt, and cheese, and calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage). Also, enzyme preparations can be added to milk to lower the lactose content. Calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as cereals, orange juice, or rice or almond beverages may provide calcium, but may not provide the other nutrients found in dairy products.

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