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Stock Up on these Healthy Staples

The Dairy Case
Most grocery stores place dairy in the very back so that you'll have to walk through the whole store (and past its enticing food items) to get to it. But even though it's in the back, dairy holds an important place in most people's diets. So what are the top picks?
  • Skim milk has just as much calcium as other varieties, but far less saturated fat. If you’re intolerant of milk (or prefer not to drink it), try dairy alternatives like soy or rice milk. The fortified varieties have as much calcium and vitamin D as dairy milk, but are free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Low-fat yogurt is getting more praise everyday for supplying our bodies with probiotics, the healthy bacteria that keep our intestines happy. Choose low-fat and natural varieties, but watch the sugar content. Soy yogurt, which is fortified with calcium and contains probiotics, is another good choice.
  • Low-fat cottage cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, without any added sugar. It's a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory healthy dishes. Look for low-sodium varieties if you are watching your blood pressure.
  • Keifer, basically, is drinkable yogurt. It's mildly tangy, usually sweetened and whipped with fruit. It has many of the same health benefits as yogurt.
  • Cheese. Admittedly, some low-fat cheeses don't taste as good as the "real" thing, but this is improving. Cheese is high in calcium, so even if you splurge on the full-fat varieties, it’s still healthy to eat it in moderation and when you keep your portions in check.
  • Butter is a food to be enjoyed in moderation. It has about the same amount of fat and calories as margarine, but is often a better choice since margarine can be loaded with trans fats.
  • Eggs and egg whites are great sources of protein. Many experts and consumers agree that the best tasting (and possibly most nutritious) eggs come from organically-fed and pasture-raised birds.
What to Avoid in the Dairy Case:
  • Whole (full-fat) milk
  • Yogurts made with whole milk and/or lots of added sugar
  • "Cheese products" which are highly processed cheese-like foods, but aren't real cheese
  • Margarines made with hydrogenated oils
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

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