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The Dairy Case

How to Shop

  • Go for reduced-fat dairy foods instead of nonfat if you're trying to lose weight. The small amount of fat may help ward off cravings. Also, avoid sweetened dairy foods, like fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, which contain added sugar. Nonfat or reduced-fat dairy products have just as much calcium as whole.
  • Try yogurt and hard cheeses in addition to lactose-free products if you're lactose intolerant. Neither has enough lactose to cause trouble for most people. Soy milk is another option, but unfortified kinds are lower in protein and calcium than cow's milk, so be sure to make up for these essentials elsewhere in your diet.
  • Pick up some eggs. "The protein they contain is highly bioavailable -- meaning your body is able to utilize it most efficiently," says Newgent. Plus, the yolks provide lutein and zeathanthin, which can prevent age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness later in life. Although egg substitutes are lower in calories than whole eggs, they may lack these other nutrients. Fortified eggs, such as those with omega-3 fatty acids, offer additional benefits, but they cost more.
  • Pass up any dairy containers that leak, which indicates spoilage. And check each egg for hairline cracks, which hasten deterioration.

How to Store

  • All dairy foods should be refrigerated and used before the "use by" date, but there are exceptions. Egg substitutes can be frozen (once thawed and opened, they're good for five days), and nonfat yogurt stays fresh for a week past the "sell by" date. Wellwrapped (with both cheesecloth and waxed paper) blocks of cheese will keep for up to three months.

Next:  The Bakery


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