Adding milk, yogurts, dairy or milk substitutes to blended drinks results in a more luxurious and creamy, though not necessarily more fattening treat.
For a rich and creamy taste choose full cream (whole) milk. Most people, however, need to avoid too much saturated fat in their diet and would be better advised to use skimmed or semi-skimmed (low-fat) milk.
Therapeutic uses: Milk is one of the richest sources of calcium available. Full cream milk is only usually advised for young children, who need the calories in provides to promote growth and bone health.
For extra indulgence, use double (heavy) or single (light) cream, creme fraiche, mascarpone, smetana or, for a different taste, sour cream.
Therapeutic uses: Cream is an excellent source of vitamin E, which helps to maintain healthy skin, but it is very high in calories so should be used in moderation.
For making shakes or smoothies thicker, yogurts are an extremely useful ingredient. Greek (US strained plain) yogurt is much thicker than standard varieties but has almost as many calories as cream, so it should not be used on a regular basis. Low-fat yogurts, including low-fat Greek yogurt, are readily available instead, so you can still indulge yourself without feeling too quilty. Fruit yogurts can add interesting flavours to fruity blends.
Therapeutic uses: Yogurt is rich in calcium and it is often suitable even for people who have a milk intolerance. Choosing live ”bio” yogurt can help improve digestive tract health by providing healthy bacteria. High-fibre yogurts that have cholesterol-lowering properties are now available.
Yogurt is available in many form, both low-fat and full-fat. Natural yogurt is ideal, but you could experiment with low-fat flavoured yogurts.
Often used by people who have a dairy allergy, alternative milks are a good low-calorie option. The fats in most nut milks, except for coconut, are healthy polyunsaturated fats.
Soya milk: Choose the calcium enriched variety of soya milk if you are using it instead of cow’s milk on a regular basis.
Rice milk: This has a thinner and lighter consistency than cow’s milk, but a deliciously sweet flavour. Vanilla- and chocolate-flaavoured rice milks are also available.
Goat milk: This alternative to cow’s milk is extremely rich and has a creamy, smooth taste.
Nut milk: Coconut milk is delicious but, because it has a very rich flavour, it is best if you either dilute it or use just a small amount. You can now buy almond milk and various other nut milks from most large supermarkets or helath food shops.
Many low-fat alternative milks are now calcium-enriched.