Milk and dairy foods

Milk and dairy foodsThese are a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, and provide most of our calcium. This food group is also particularly important for growing children.


  • Eat or drink items from this food group three times a day
  • Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
  • Choose reduced-fat or lower-fat options where possible
  • When having higher-fat options, reduce the quantity used


Click here to see Essential nutrients

  • Calcium 
  • Protein 
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B2  
  • Vitamin A and D
  • Zinc


  • Try using lower-fat cheese on toast, in sauces and in cooking
  • Try using less of strongly flavoured cheese such as Parmesan or mature Cheddar
  • Grate cheese rather than using it in chunks to make it go further
  • Try using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk in sauces, milk puddings, custard and other recipes 


  • 1/3 pint (200ml) semi-skimmed milk
  • small (6oz; 150g) pot of yogurt or fromage frais
  • 1oz (25g) piece of hard cheese
  • small (4oz; 100g) pot of cottage cheese or quark

Only a very small number of people are allergic to particular foods. The most common food allergies are to wheat, gluten, eggs, fish, soya, and milk 
Foods such as nuts when eaten by a susceptible person can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis 
Some foods are relatively easy to exclude from the diet. Others need to be replaced with a nutritionally comparable alternative. For example, soya milk fortified with calcium can be used by those who cannot tolerate cow's milk