Some examples of foods in the dairy group are milk, yogurt and cheese. For a serving of dairy, measure out 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1.5 ounces of natural cheese (2 ounces of processed cheese), according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. The current government recommendation of dairy foods is 3 cups per day for both men and women.
It is important to know that even if a food is made from milk, it is not necessarily a dairy food. For example, butter, cream, and cream cheese have very little calcium despite being made from milk and therefore are not considered dairy foods. It is recommended to choose dairy foods that are low-fat or fat-free in order to avoid consuming too many empty calories.
Non-milk dairy foods are also available. Many calcium fortified non-dairy milks, such as soymilk and almond milk, exist for individuals who cannot have milk products, like vegans or lactose intolerant individuals. Similarly, there are lactose-free yogurts and cheeses.
For individuals seeking calcium-rich foods, many other options are available as well besides milk, yogurt, and cheese. Leafy greens such as kale, bok choy and collard greens have very high calcium levels. Some beans and canned fish are also rich in calcium. Other foods such as orange juice or dry cereals may also be fortified with calcium.