This food group includes milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais. Calcium fortified soya alternatives to milk can also be included. This group does not include butter, eggs and cream as these fall into other food groups.
Try to eat 2-3 servings a day. A serving of milk is a 200ml glass, a serving of yogurt is a small pot (150g), a serving of cheese is 30g (matchbox size). Choose lower fat versions whenever you can, such as semi-skimmed milk, low fat yogurt and reduced fat cheese.
These foods provide:
- Calcium: needed for development and maintenance of healthy bones
- Zinc: required for tissue growth and repair
- Protein: needed for growth and repair, and also a source of energy
- Vitamin B12: required for blood cells and nerve function
- Vitamin B2: needed for the release of energy from carbohydrates and protein
- Vitamin A: (in whole milk products) for growth, development and eyesight
Healthy eating tips
• Choose low fat milk i.e. semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
• Choose low fat yogurts and reduced fat cheeses
Meat and Alternatives
This food group includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs and alternatives (see below). Meat products include bacon, salami, sausages, beefburgers and pâté. Fish includes frozen and canned fish such as sardines and tuna, fish fingers and fish cakes.
Proteins are required for growth and repair. Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and sometimes Sulphur. Proteins are very large molecules, so they cannot get directly into our blood; they must be turned into amino-acids by the digestive system. There are over 20 different amino-acids. Our bodies can turn the amino-acids back into protein. When our cells do this they have to put the amino-acids together in the correct order. There are many millions of possible combinations or sequences of amino-acids; it is our DNA which contains the information about how to make proteins.
Choose lower fat versions whenever you can. Some meat products, e.g. beefburgers and sausages, can be high in fat. Trim visible fat off meat where possible. The Government recommends that we eat two portions of fish each week, one of which should be an oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines or fresh tuna).