Dairy foods are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, two nutrients essential for healthy bones and teeth, as well as a dose of protein. However, many dairy foods also contain a large amount of calories and fat, which makes them anything but appropriate diet foods. If you're trying to lose weight, you'll need to take in fewer calories and burn more calories than you eat. Eliminating dairy foods is one way to achieve this goal, but always talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss program or before eliminating an entire food group from your diet.
Hold the cheese. For example, order your Mexican food without the generous heaping of melted cheese. Eliminating an ounce of cheddar cheese will save you 114 calories and 9.4 grams of fat. Taking an ounce of mozzarella cheese off your slice of pizza will save you 85 calories and 6.3 grams of fat. Pass on a sprinkle of cheese on salads, soup and chili, too. Removing an ounce of feta cheese off a Greek salad, for example, will save you 75 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Swap your usual glass of milk for a no-calorie beverage, such as water, black coffee or unsweetened iced tea. An 8-ounce glass of whole milk contains 149 calories, which can really add up if you're drinking two or three cups a day. Almond, rice or soy milk are additional options, though they still contain calories. An 8-ounce glass of soy milk, for example, contains 73 calories and 1.9 grams of fat, which is still much lower than the whole milk.
Pass on dairy-based desserts such as ice cream and pudding. These are loaded with sugar, which increases the calorie content quite significantly. A one-half-cup serving of vanilla ice cream, for example, contains 137 calories and 7.3 grams of fat.
Replace the calcium you would normally get from including dairy foods in your diet with non-dairy alternatives. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, beans and tofu are nutritious non-dairy sources of calcium.
Even if you eliminate high calorie dairy foods from your diet, you won't lose weight unless you burn more calories than you consume. If your doctor approves your decision to eliminate dairy, keep in mind that eliminating other high calorie foods, such as fast food, desserts and fatty cuts of meat, will also probably be necessary to shed excess weight.