10 Non-Dairy Alternatives to Consider in Your Diet – People go dairy free for a variety of reasons. Some deal with dairy intolerance while others want to reduce their ecological footprint. If you’re curious about ditching cow’s milk but hesitant to give up your favourite foods, a wide variety of dairy-free alternatives exist. You can choose to pursue dietary changes while still enjoying the recipes you love. Below are 10 non-dairy alternatives to consider adding to your diet.
1. Pea Protein Milk
Pea protein milk is a soy-free, plant-based alternative to animal milk and other dairy-based protein beverages. Made with dried yellow peas, this milk is higher in protein than other plant-based beverages averaging around eight grams per serving. For vegan or plant-based eaters who aren’t getting iron from meat, pea-based milk can give you a boost. Iron plays an important role in fighting anemia, a condition that causes fatigue, headaches, and breathing problems. Pea protein milk is fortified with iron and other minerals, helping to fill nutritional gaps in your diet.
2. Nutritional Yeast
Great for salads, pasta, and popcorn, nutritional yeast is a salty, nutty alternative for cheesy toppings. Often referred to as nooch, this flaky, yellow seasoning is the inactive version of the yeast used in leaven bread. Although nutritional yeast is only 50 calories per two tablespoons, it contains a surprising amount of protein. One serving of this savory ingredient has a whopping eight grams. For even more health benefits, opt for nutritional yeast fortified with B vitamins.
Ice cream lovers rejoice! There’s a dairy-free alternative to your favorite summer dessert. Sorbet is a sweet ice cream replacement made from frozen fruit. Since this treat doesn’t contain any cream, it’s lower in fat than ice cream or sherbert. This can make it a healthier option for dieters who are watching their fat intake. If you’re concerned about consuming too much sugar, look for sorbet options that only contain fruit.
4. Avocado Ice Cream
Avocados aren’t just great in guacamole. They also make a fantastic base for creamy vegan ice cream. Using a blend of avocado, sweeteners and flavor boosters like mint, avocado ice cream is a healthy alternative to other frozen treats. The omega-3 fatty acids and fiber found in avocados can help keep you satiated until your next meal. This fatty fruit is also high in folate, helping to support mental health.
5. Olive Oil
While the saying “butter makes everything better” is common, have you tried olive oil? Like butter, olive oil is rich and fatty. However, it comes with some unique health benefits that butter is lacking. While butter is high in saturated fats, olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats. These fats have been found to aid in weight loss, improve heart health and reduce inflammation. Olive oils also can be infused with many different flavors, from tuscan herb or garlic to butter of all things.
6. Coconut Milk Yogurt
Love starting your morning with a creamy yogurt parfait? Then give coconut yogurt a try! Like dairy-based yogurt, coconut yogurt is made with live cultures, helping support your gut health. However, this breakfast dish swaps cow’s milk for coconut milk, giving it a naturally sweet, coconutty flavor. But if you’re a vegan, make sure to read the yogurt’s ingredient list before buying it. Some brands contain animal products like gelatin.
7. Silken Tofu
You’ve likely heard of eating tofu in a stir fry, but did you know it can also be a great replacement for sour cream? Silken tofu is a soft Japanese-style tofu that crumbles easily. When blended in a food processor with added seasonings, it tastes nearly the same as sour cream. Both silken tofu and regular tofu are high in protein, making them a healthy addition to any meal.
8. Coconut Cream
Got a recipe that calls for heavy cream? You could try using coconut cream instead. Often used in Thai and Indian dishes, coconut cream is a thicker version of coconut milk. It’s high fat content makes it a delicious addition to soups and sauces. However, this ingredient isn’t a low calorie food, so you don’t want to go overboard if you’re cutting calories.
Sweets like cakes and cookies are typically loaded with butter. You could reduce your dairy intake and lighten up some of your favorite recipes by replacing butter with a mashed banana. This adjustment may take a bit of trial and error. However, bananas can typically replace butter at a one to one swap. If you notice your baking batter is a little dry, consider adding a dash of olive oil.
10. Cashew Cheese
If you’re a lover of cheese, you don’t need to give up your charcuterie board. With a little patience and practice in the kitchen, you can turn cashews into your favorite cheddar. Don’t have time to make cheese yourself? Your local health food store should have a variety of options. When choosing cashew cheese, look for varieties made with mostly whole foods. These will be more nutritionally dense than their overly processed alternatives.
Don’t Dread Dropping Dairy
Ditching dairy doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. There are more dairy-free food options today than ever before. Use this article as inspiration when you’re looking for alternatives for your favorite cheese, ice cream, or milk.