To lose weight, start with dairy swaps

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Losing weight comes down to simple arithmetic: Eat fewer calories than you burn off.

Here's a good way you can accomplish this without going hungry.

Switch out high-calorie foods for low-calorie options to cut calories without cutting portion sizes. Dairy food is a good place to start, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The healthier option would be using low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cream which decreases the fat in your diet.

Steady changes in your diet

If you're still using whole milk and cream, make gradual changes to lower-fat versions. Start by switching from whole milk to 2% milk for your coffee, on your cereal and in recipes. Then take the next step down to 1% milk and, eventually, to fat-free or skim milk. You can make similar switches with other dairy products, like yogurt and cottage cheese.

Mix in your own fresh fruit or a few drops of vanilla extract to a serving of no-fat plain Greek yogurt to make you forget about higher-calorie choices. You'll get twice the protein of regular yogurts without the added sugar (and calories) of flavoured varieties.

Are you craving cheese? Choose types that are naturally lower in fat, like feta, string, goat and ricotta cheese. Also try reduced-fat versions of your favourites, like cheddar.

Healthy bones

Milk is a great source of protein and other nutrients – like calcium – needed for bone health. And it's usually fortified with vitamin D, essential to maximising that calcium.

Ideally, people need to drink about three glasses of skimmed milk a day. It can be used over cereal at breakfast, in hot beverages and in milk-based foods and desserts.

The bottom line? Keep the dairy, but ditch the fat.

Read more:

Eat dairy, lose weight

Dairy products won't make you skinny

Dairy foods protect your heart

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