Eating dairy free was not something I ever thought I would do. I mean, I loooove cheese (remember my brie recipe?). And coffee creamer. And chocolate. Ohh and cake. The list goes on and on. But when my little girl started showing signs of dairy sensitivity (we are breastfeeding, so what I eat affects her), I immediately decided to cut it out of my diet so that her tummy would feel better.
But my first question was…what in the heck am I going to eat?? Actually, that isn’t true. My first thought was of sadness and all the things I couldn’t eat. Then I wondered what I could eat. And once I started thinking about it, I realized there were actually a lot of things I could eat!
The easiest part was cutting out obvious dairy: milk, cheese, butter, coffee creamer, etc. So no more cereal, no more grilled cheese sandwiches, and no more ice cream. What’s difficult is all of the hidden dairy – which means reading food labels when I eat processed foods (there’s dairy in Chex Mix!), and knowing what ingredients are used to cook foods in restaurants (like butter on a toasted hamburger bun or dairy in seasoning for fries). And if you didn’t know – Starbucks’ pumpkin spice creamer is NOT dairy free. That was a huge disappointment for me.
In the end, it’s easiest for me to eat at home so that I know how my meals are prepared. Luckily, we eat home cooked meals most of the time anyway. So here is a list I came up with of my favorite dairy free foods:
- Eggs – scrambled, boiled, or over easy
- Toast with jam (check the bread ingredients to be sure it is dairy free)
- Granola/oat bar (check ingredients)
- Coffee with coconut or almond milk creamer
- Baked potato with butter replacement (like Smart Balance or Earth Balance)
- Burger loaded with everything but cheese (avocado is a great alternative!)
- Tacos, burritos, or fajitas without cheese or sour cream
- Salad loaded with everything but cheese (I make my own dressing)
- BLAT – bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich
- Grilled steak with green beans and grilled corn on the cob
- Curry chicken and rice (I cheat and use jarred sauce, just check the label!)
As you can see, it really isn’t that different when you’re eating fresh meals prepared at home! I have switched to drinking vegan Shakeology, and the only thing I really miss is grabbing yogurt for a quick snack. I’ll go ahead and confess — Oreos are dairy free, and they have helped me when I get uncontrollable chocolate cravings. Eeep. I’m human. It happens. If you want some more meal ideas and/or recipes, make sure to follow me on Pinterest! I have a board for Paleo Meal Ideas, which is completely dairy free. There are some fantastic links in there, like buffalo chicken meatballs that would make a great dairy free snack for Football Sunday. I’m confident you’ll find something you like, and I bet your family will love it too!
Do you have any favorite dairy free meals or recipes? Please share them below! I’d love to try them out!