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Low Calorie, Lower Fat Alternatives for Dairy Products

Aug 11, 2010

Although dairy foods are usually a dieter's worst nightmare, it's easy to make low calorie substitutions and still enjoy the dairy products you love. Dairy products containing whole milk are usually very high in calories and fat, particularly saturated fat. If you're watching your diet, lower calorie and reduced fat dairy foods are a better option than whole milk products.

Low Calorie Milk

When it comes to purchasing milk, it's easy to make healthier choices. Instead of buying whole milk, opt for fat-free or skim milk. 1 cup of whole milk contains 146 calories, 8g of fat, 5g of saturated fat, 24mg of cholesterol, 98mg of sodium, 13g of carbohydrates and 8g of protein. While whole milk is high in protein, it's excessively high in calories and fat. 1 cup of nonfat or skim milk contains only 86 calories, 0.4g of fat, 0.3g of saturated fat, 5mg of cholesterol, 127mg of sodium, 11.9g of carbohydrates and 8.4g of protein. Nonfat milk is a great choice because it's much lower in calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Nonfat milk still contains just as much protein and calcium as whole milk. Nonfat milk is not quite as creamy and is noticeably more watery than whole milk. If you're accustomed to drinking whole milk, making the switch to nonfat milk might take some getting used to.

Low Calorie Dairy Foods

Aside from milk, you can also make healthier choices when it comes to purchasing other dairy products, like sour cream and yogurt. 1 ounce of sour cream contains 59 calories, 5.5g of fat, 5g of saturated fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 28.9mg of sodium, 45.6g of potassium, 1.9g of carbohydrates and 0.7g of protein. Reduced fat sour cream contains somewhere between 45 to 50 calories per 1 oz serving and 3 to 4g of fat. If you'd like to save even more calories and fat grams, you could substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream. Nonfat Greek yogurt is extremely creamy and very high in protein. One 6 ounce container of nonfat Greek yogurt has 90 calories, no fat and still packs a whopping 15g of protein. The sour taste of Greek yogurt makes it a great substitute for sour cream.

Healthier yogurt options are usually simple to make. You should avoid full-fat yogurt, which usually contains around 250 calories and 45g of carbohydrates per cup. Most grocery stores carry wonderful fat-free yogurts in a variety of flavors. You can find fat-free yogurts in individual serving sized containers, making them an easy food to pack on the go. Fat-free yogurt usually contains about 100 calories or less per serving.

Low Calorie Soy Foods

Some groceries stock dairy substitutes, like milk and cheese, made with tofu and soy milk. These products are usually very low in fat and calories. You should keep in mind these products don't contain any milk at all, so they usually taste drastically different from other low calorie dairy options. But you won't know how well a particular soy substitute mimics the taste of dairy without giving it a try.

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