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By: Sammy Griffith, RD, LDN

Dairy products are a cost-effective way to boost your protein intake. A half-gallon of milk provides 64 grams of protein at an average cost of $1.95 and a dozen eggs provides 84 grams of protein at an average cost of $1.19. Those are prices that fit in any budget!

Not only is dairy inexpensive, it also has many benefits to offer. 

As kids, we were told to drink milk in order to have strong bones, and for good reason.  Did you know that females reach peak bone density at age 18 and males at age 20?  Bone density then diminishes, leaving us progressively more at risk for osteoporosis.  The good news is that consuming dairy products and other foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D is one way to keep bones strong and slow this process (as does weight-bearing exercise…another reason formal exercise is so important).

The USDA recommends 2 servings of dairy each day. This is because dairy is not only high in vitamin D and calcium, but is also a great source of protein. However, it is important to remember that some dairy foods can also be high in fat. Ideal options include Skim or 1% milk, fat-free or reduced-fat cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt with minimal added sugars.

If you’re lactose intolerant, there are dairy-alternatives that provide similar nutrients. However, be aware of the differences in protein content. While soy milk and cow’s milk both contain 8 grams of protein per cup, almond milk has only 1 gram per cup.

Try our tips below to stretch your dollar when it comes to dairy!

Use your freezer.  

Dairy products can be frozen just like meat and vegetables to extend their expiration date.

Dairy Product Preparation prior to freezing Length of time
Cheese Shred, slice, or cube to keep the best consistency. Then, place in air tight freezer bag. Up to 3 months
Milk Pour roughly a 1/2 inch of liquid out of the lidded container. What you remove from the jug allows for the expansion space needed as the milk freezes. 2-3 months
Yogurt Can be frozen in their plastic containers or divided into smaller glass or plastic lidded containers. 1-2 months

Try this Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bark for a healthy snack!

Price Check! The Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bark recipe costs as low as $2.24 per serving.

Buy large containers.

Buy the large yogurt containers instead of the individual portions for an easy money saver. It also works great when making smoothies! You are able to add the perfect amount of yogurt to match your preference.

Price check! A small (5.3oz) container of Greek yogurt can cost as much as $1.49, which is $0.28 per ounce. A 32oz jug of the same brand can cost as little as $4.99, which is just $0.15 per ounce.

Whether you are snacking on Greek yogurt or adding a glass of milk with your meal, dairy should be incorporated into your nutrition every day!