Milk and milk products

Milk and milk products include milk, cheese and yoghurt.

These foods – also called dairy products – are an important source of calcium, helping to give us strong bones and teeth. They also provide protein (for growth and repair), carbohydrates, and fat (for energy) as well as many important vitamins (such as vitamins A and B12) and minerals (including zinc).

How much do we need to eat?

In general, 2-3 serves of milk and milk products each day are recommended for most adults. Older adults need between 3.5-4 serves as they have higher calcium and protein requirements. You can see how many servings a day you are recommended to consume on our Healthy Eating pages.

Serving sizes

  • 1 glass milk (250ml)
  • 1 pottle yoghurt (150g)
  • 2 slices cheese (40g)

Plant-based milks

If you choose plant-based milk (eg, soy, rice, or almond), make sure that it has added calcium (and vitamin B12 if you avoid animal-based foods). Note that most plant-based milks (excluding soy) are also much lower in protein than cow’s milk.


Note that, while butter is considered to be a dairy product, butter does not count towards a serving of milk and milk products. This is because butter is predominately fat and low/minimal in nutrients such as protein, and calcium.

Tips for eating milk and milk products

  • Choose mainly low-fat dairy products low-fat milk – trim (green top), lite (light blue top), or trim with added calcium (yellow top).  They all contain calcium but are lower in fat. Lower-fat cheeses include Edam, cottage cheese, and low-fat cream cheese.
  • Try yoghurt instead of cream with desserts. It can also be used in savoury dishes, as can low-fat evaporated milk.

Last reviewed: 14 March 2022

Last modified: August 16, 2023