MyPlate & 3-A-Day

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Why Choose Milk and Dairy Foods?

Dairy is an important part of the daily diet, for adults and children alike, and for good reason. Milk has what you’re missing – milk is a significant source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium, three of the four nutrients most of us don’t get enough of according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 


On average, most of us enjoy less than two dairy servings per day, but we actually need about three servings to fill those nutrient gaps. MyPlate, along with several nutrition experts and organizations recommend three daily servings of milk, cheese or yogurt. The exact amount per serving depends on your age.

Recommended Dairy by Age

Age Daily Dairy
infants 6 to 12 months (depending on developmental readiness) small amounts of yogurt and cheese
toddlers 12 to 23 months (who no longer consume human milk) 1.5 to 2 cups
2 2 cups
3 - 8  2.5 cups
9 and up 3 cups

Nutrient Equivalents

1 cup of dairy = 1 cup milk = 1 cup yogurt = 1.5 oz. cheese

MyPlate Highlights Dairy as an Essential Part of Every Meal. 

MyPlate provides a clear message that a healthy diet is made of a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt. Good food fuels good health, and dairy is just one piece of that puzzle. Along with your three servings of dairy every day, make sure you balance your plate by enjoying fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. To learn more visit