A Dairy Lover’s Guide to Choosing the Most Nutritious and Delicious Products
Beloved dairy products like milk, butter, and yogurt can be a delicious part of a healthy diet. To enjoy the full benefits of this creamy food group, choosing the right dairy is essential. As a rule, grass-fed, whole milk products are tastier and more nutrient dense than the heavily marketed sugary and fat-free options. Moreover, a considerable amount of emerging research absolves certain dietary fats of their supposed crimes against the body, so you can indulge in full-fat dairy with a clear conscience. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the most delicious and nutritious dairy options:
Butter is Better
The French do it, so maybe there’s something to it. Eliminating vegetable oil and margarine from your cooking routine and using butter instead is one of the most flavorful changes you can make in the kitchen. Butter’s incredible flavor and versatility are complemented by its high smoking point, meaning that it can get a lot hotter before producing harmful toxins or losing its stability and flavor.
Vegetable oils, like the ubiquitous canola and soy oils, are more volatile and break down at the high temperatures and chemical treatment used in processing, which can lead to rancidity. Many popular vegetable oils contain small amounts of harmful trans fats, a fact that is not reported on the label, and can contribute to oxidative stress in the body and harm cardiovascular health. Coconut oil and olive oil are notable exceptions due to different processing methods, and can usually be used as part of a healthy diet.
To reap the maximum benefit of butter, look for a product that comes from grass-fed cows – it’s higher in heart healthy essential fatty acids, Vitamin K, and a host of other nutrients. It’s also a good idea to stick with unsalted butter because it is often fresher than the salted variety. Choosing unsalted butter also allows you to control the saltiness of a dish – something most cooks appreciate.
A Better Yogurt
We all love yogurt. It’s delicious, nutritious, and widely available, and the boom in yogurt’s popularity has led to a huge variety to choose from. While variety can be good, the problem with most yogurt products offered in stores is that they are loaded with sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors. The potential benefits of eating yogurt can be quickly overshadowed by the massive doses of sugar in many of the most popular brands.
To avoid the sugar injection and get the protein, calcium, and beneficial probiotics that make yogurt so great, make the switch to plain full-fat yogurt. Full-fat yogurt, whether Greek or European style, is significantly more rich and flavorful than the defatted variety and doesn’t need mind boggling amounts of sugar to make it taste good.
An added benefit of plain yogurt is its versatility in the kitchen. Add things like fruit, nuts, pure cocoa powder and vanilla, or a drizzle of honey to plain yogurt to dress it up a bit. For a fresh and easy dip, add a few cloves of minced garlic, a handful of chopped dill, and salt to taste. Marinating meat in yogurt overnight yields moist and flavorful results.
Drink Your Milk Whole
Though many of us grew up with the stuff, it’s time to admit that skim milk doesn’t taste all that great. The tasty, nutritious parts of milk have been removed, or skimmed, and what’s left is essentially sugary water. For the sake of health and taste bud satisfaction, make the switch from the denatured skim back to milk in its whole, healthy form.
This might be a scary prospect to those who fear the fat in whole milk, but that fear is proving unfounded. A recent Scandinavian study found that people who drank whole milk tended to have a lower body weight than those who drank skim or low-fat milk. The nutrient density and slower digestion of whole milk could lead to sustained satiety, which is very helpful for maintaining a healthy weight.
It may take a little getting used to, but whole milk is creamier and more satisfying than low-fat or fat-free milk. It’s milk that actually tastes like milk. Get the best flavor and nutrition by purchasing milk from grass-fed cows or goats that were not treated with hormones or antibiotics