Diabetes and Dairy: What to Eat

The calcium and protein found in most high-quality dairy products make them an ideal staple to include in your diabetic diet.

However, not all dairy products are created equal, and it's important to know which options are nutritionally sound - as well as how to incorporate them into your meals and snacks for the best health outcomes.

Best dairy choices

For diabetics, the best choices when it comes to dairy products are ones that are low in fat, as full-fat dairy products are going to be higher in calories and usually carbohydrates, too.

Stick with products like:

-Low-fat or fat-free milk
-Fat free plain yogurt (Greek varieties have the highest protein content)
-Low- or reduced-fat cream, cottage or hard cheeses

If you don't eat dairy or are lactose intolerant, you can try unflavored fortified soy milk, almond milk or hemp milk. Just be sure to read labels to determine carbohydrate content for non-dairy options.

Tips for snacks and meals

Some people may complain that fat-free dairy products have a different texture and flavor than whole-fat options. If you find it difficult to handle the taste difference, try switching first to low-fat products and then gradually move to more fat-free products.

Some diabetic-friendly snack options that include quality dairy products are:

-Greek yogurt with berries
-Cottage cheese with diced cucumbers
-String cheese wrapped in deli meat and a lettuce leaf
-A wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and a serving of almonds
-Cream cheese spread over whole-grain crackers or celery sticks

Dairy products can also be used in many low-carb, high-protein diabetic recipes, including:

Lime Cheesecake Bars
Crustless Breakfast Quiche
Amaretto Cheesecake
Cottage Cheese Vegetable Casserole

Remember that each serving of milk - or a 6-ounce serving of yogurt - has about 12 grams of carbohydrates. Budget your dairy servings appropriately, then, to fit in with your total carbohydrate intake for the day.

Source: Diabetes.org

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