Dairy products: valuable sources of nutrients!

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

March 22, 2022

Dairy products are important at any age: for young children to ensure harmonious growth and for adults to maintain bone mass. They are valuable sources of calcium and essential for the growth and strength of bones.

Ideally, dairy products should be consumed three times a day, preferably in different forms to provide variety. There are three categories:

• Milk (raw milk, fresh milk, pasteurized and sterilized milk, milk powder…)

• Cheese

• Yogurt, cream cheese and fermented milk (dessert creams excluded).

Not all dairy products have the same calcium content. A bowl of milk 1/4 liter provides as much calcium as two natural yogurts, 30 g of Emmental cheese, or half a Camembert. Some are rich in calcium, but may also contain salt or fats. Therefore, it is recommended to choose different foods and give preference to products such as milk, natural yogurt and cream cheese.

Alternatives to milk

If your child no longer likes milk, you can compensate by adding grated cheese to his favorite foods, such as casseroles, purees, and other pasta or rice dishes. Raw vegetables can also be enhanced with goat cheese or mozzarella cubes. Dairy-based desserts are also a good option. Curd cheese with compote or honey, natural yogurt with some chestnut cream or fruit, or … milkshakes! Simply mix milk with fruit to make a delicious drink. Children also like drinking yogurts, “fruit gnomes”, small milk cartons or portioned cheese.

“Children also like drinkable yogurts, “Fruchtzwerge,” small milk cartons or portioned cheese.”

Beware of “false friends,” however.

• Butter and crème fraîche are high in fat and low in calcium. They do not count as dairy products, nor do ice cream, dessert creams and bars “with milk and chocolate”.

• Processed and spreadable cheeses make children’s hearts beat faster, but some contain a lot of fat and salt and little calcium.

• Soy-based beverages are not dairy products.

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