Dairy-Free Replacements for Anything Dairy
Going dairy-free seems difficult with how prevalent dairy is. Whether you are going dairy-free for personal reasons or dairy allergies, it is important to learn what the alternatives are. Check our milk allergy page to understand more about milk allergies.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these ingredients, as they can contain milk:
This milk replacement is the most popular replacement to hit the market recently. Almond milk is low in calories and high in many nutrients. However, almond milk is lacking in protein compared to normal milk and other alternatives.
Soy milk is the least processed milk replacements with high protein and low fat. Unfortunately, soybeans have a high level of phytic acid. This is not a problem unless you drink soy milk every day. Phytic acid stops the body from taking in minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, which can lead to digestive problems. Soy is a common allergen, so this may not be the best replacement for you.
One of the most popular replacements, coconut milk is a great alternative. It contains calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Coconut milk contains a lot more fat than other alternatives, so this is not a milk you can constantly drink to remain healthy.
While not the best alternative milk, rice milk can be used in baking as it holds up under heat. Rice milk is the least allergenic of all the alternatives. It is less nutritional than other milk replacements and is not a good source of protein. Rice milk can pose a risk to infants and children due to rice milk having inorganic arsenic levels. If you choose to have rice milk in your dairy-free diet, be sure to check for lower sugar varieties and use it sparingly.
All yogurt replacements are made from the milk alternatives above. Coconut milk, almond milk and soy milk yogurt are the best alternatives to normal yogurt. They do tend to have less protein and about the same carbs. Majority of alternatives are plain in flavor, but depending on the brand you can find flavored versions.
Like yogurt replacements, butter alternatives revolve around coconut and nut. There are also some butters made from vegetable oils. Some butters may have more protein or carbs than normal butter, but this isn’t the case for all alternatives. Vegetable oil margarine can still contain whey, so always check the ingredients.
Cheese may be one of the hardest dairy product to replace. Most cheese alternatives are made from soy proteins or nuts as the base. There are some nut and soy free varieties that are made with pea starch or protein. When shopping for alternatives, always look for either dairy-free or vegan labels. Cheese replacements may have casein, which is the protein that triggers milk allergies. Always check the labels for casein when looking at alternatives.
Cream and Ice Cream Replacements
Coconut milk is common in cream replacements, with some nut and soy alternatives. Non-dairy cream is lower in calories and fat. These replacements have no protein and may contain ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.
Like cream, ice cream is commonly made with coconut and soy milk. Sorbet is a good replacement for ice cream, as it does not have milk naturally. Be sure to not confuse sorbet with sherbets. Bananas can also be used as a great alternative, mimicking the creamy mouthfeel of dairy ice cream.
When cutting dairy out of your diet for allergies, health reasons, or personal decisions, it's always best to talk to a dietitian and find the best plan for you and your family. What do you think of these replacements? How do you handle eating a dairy-free diet? Let us know in the comments below!