Many people have dairy allergies or intolerance and therefore need to avoid dairy products. It could be due to a lot of reasons where the main reason is sensitivity to proteins found in cow’s milk that are casein, whey, or albumin. If you’re one of the people who are allergic to dairy products or if you’re looking to start with a dairy free lifestyle, read on to find out which dairy free foods are for you.
Earlier, it seemed quite impossible to avoid dairy products, and people with dairy allergies had to face a lot of problems. But today, thankfully, there are alternatives available to dairy products, and we call them dairy free foods.
Milk has always been a primary source of calcium and proteins along with other bodily nutrients, but not everyone can have milk. Therefore, if you’re preparing food for yourself or someone who avoids dairy products, it is suggested that you should know which dairy free foods can be used in preparing dairy free meals. So if you’re looking for dairy free foods to eat for a healthy lifestyle, we’ve got you covered.
Dairy Free Foods to Eat
Today there are a lot of dairy free foods available that serve as substitutes to dairy food items. These dairy free foods are readily available, making it easier for dairy-free eaters to make healthy, dairy free recipes and meals.
The best substitute for milk and the most widely available one is Soya Milk. Use this dairy free milk in cooking, creating dairy free breakfast and healthy meals. In addition to soya milk, Soya-based cheese can also be used as a substitute for all types of cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, blue cheese, etc. Moreover, Soya-based Cream is also an excellent alternative to cream and can be used to prepare dairy free ice creams.
Nut based Milk
Nuts such as Almond, cashew, and hazelnut are also a great source of dairy free foods. Nuts based milk is good for dairy free foods such as coffee, breakfast, desserts, and puddings. Furthermore, cashew milk is also used to make cashew cheese and ice creams. Nuts based milk does contain proteins, but in comparison to soya milk or nuts itself, the protein content is less.
To prepare dairy free foods, where the recipe says to use butter, use the best alternative to butter – coconut Oil. Another quite favorite dairy free food item in preparing dairy free meals is Coconut milk. It is widely available and is the best alternative to cow milk and is commonly used in cooking creamy, smooth dairy free foods. Another dairy free food from the coconut family is coconut yogurt.
Oats and Oat Milk
Oats are a favorite dairy free food for many as they are excellent as cereal, can be used in a lot of savory dishes and make an excellent addition to desserts too. Similarly, Oat milk is another dairy free food that’s healthy, filling, and also contains carbohydrates and proteins too.
Thankfully today vegan and lactose-free cheeses are available. This is good news for cheese lovers because now you can easily make dairy free meals with vegan cheese that are usually made out of coconut oil and the creamier versions are generally made with cashews.
Natural Dairy Free Foods
There are also natural dairy free foods available, which include fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs or egg-based foods. Dark chocolate is also dairy free but its always good to check the label, to be sure.
Protein Sources from Dairy Free Foods
Milk, cheese and dairy products are rich in proteins, and when going dairy free, it means you’re cutting that out, but your body still needs proteins. The best source of proteins from dairy free foods that are also healthy are eggs, pulses, quinoa, tofu, and nuts.
Calcium Sources from Dairy Free Foods
Dairy products are rich in calcium, and when looking for alternatives to calcium in dairy free, foods there some very good substitutes. These include Beans, leafy greens, tofu, and calcium-fortified soymilk.
Things to Watch Out for In Dairy Free Foods
As there are so many substitutes and alternative available to dairy food today, that you can easily find dairy free food items in your grocery stores. However, there are still things you need to watch out for when looking for dairy free foods.
- Sugar Content - In most dairy free foods, the sugar content is a bit higher to match the texture and flavor to the regular dairy products, so make sure you check that out on the product.
- Additives - It is quite common that dairy free foods like cheese and yogurt, additives are used to improve the texture of the product.
- Protein content: Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich with proteins. However, in dairy free foods, the only plant-based substitute that closely matches that level of protein can only be found in soy.
- Nutrient content: Dairy food deliver complete nutrition as they are rich in calcium and potassium too. Fortified dairy free products may also offer these nutrients and other micronutrients, but it all depends on the brand.
To be sure of dairy free food and their nutritional contents its always advised to read the labels and see what ingredients are used to avoid any health issue.
Foods to Avoid When Going Dairy Free
Apart from the regular dairy products like milk, cream, cheese, and butter, many other foods need to be avoided if you’re going dairy free. This list includes most of the dairy foods that should be avoided when going for dairy free foods for health reasons.
- Casein and caseinates
- Cheese powder
- Artificial cream
- Milk powder
- Nisin preparation
- Whey, whey syrup
The Bottom Line
Today there are many dairy free foods available that make it easier to find a suitable alternative to everyday dairy products.
Apart from store-based dairy free foods, you can easily prepare homemade versions of these dairy free foods easily too. While dairy free foods are not a direct substitute for dairy products nutritionally, but if appropriately planned to make good use of dairy free foods, you can match up to that nutrition level from different dairy free foods.