Small bottles of milk with straws

Recommended dairy intake

With a unique combination of essential nutrients, the recommended intake of dairy products is important through all life stages – from infancy through to late adulthood. No matter your age, milk, cheese and yoghurt has an important role in your diet.

The Australian Health Survey shows nine out of 10 Aussie adults aren’t meeting their recommended daily serves of milk, cheese and yoghurt, as per our national eating recommendations, the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Consumer research from Dairy Australia indicates that 97% per cent of Australians aren’t actually aware of how much dairy they need - potentially putting their long-term bone health at risk, whilst only half (49%) are actively trying to consume enough milk, cheese and/or yoghurt each day.

Learn more about the recommended dairy intake for your age group below:

Maintaining a balanced diet

A balanced diet refers to eating a wide variety of foods from within and across the five food groups, in the amounts recommended for you. The food groups recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines are:

  • Plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat

Your diet might be unbalanced if it contains too many so-called ‘junk foods’, which are food and drinks that contain a high number of kilojoules (or calories) but are low on nutrients. Junk foods include the likes of fried potatoes, cakes, biscuits and muffins, savoury pies and pastries, chocolate, soft drinks and alcohol.

Having too many of these foods in your diet can lead to weight gain and increase your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies and other health problems.

Dairy food serves

A serve from the dairy food group is a cup (250ml) of milk, three-quarters of a cup (200g) yoghurt, two slices (40g) of cheese and half a cup (120g) of ricotta cheese.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines advise that more than half of your intake should be reduced-fat varieties. Keep in mind though that reduced-fat milk is not suitable as a drink for children under 2 years.

Visit our Recipes section or ideas on how to include enough serves of dairy foods in your healthy eating plan.