Food Hacks: Tips for Replacing Dairy in Recipes

Dairy is a great source of many of the nutrients our bodies need to thrive. It includes calcium and phosphorus, as well as other key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, D, and B12. Dairy is found in many different foods and can be a part of a healthy diet. But what if you have a dairy allergy or experience lactose intolerance? Dairy is surely out of the question in many of those cases, but missing out on foods and recipes that normally contain dairy doesn’t have to be. Let’s discuss a few minor ways you can swap out dairy in recipes that will make a major difference! 

Hack #1: Non-Dairy Milk Options

At first, the idea of using non-dairy milk products might seem foreign or unsettling, but once you do some research, all that uncertainty will melt away. Non-dairy milks can be super helpful for people who have a dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant, and finding the right one for you or your family is just a few clicks away!

Depending on other allergies or preferences, one non-dairy milk option might be better than another. Luckily, there are so many out there to try! Popular dairy-free milks you might find on your grocery store shelves are almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and more. We’ll cover three today to get you started on your dairy-free journey.

Corn flakes, milk, and blueberries in a white bowl on a picnic table.

Having a dairy allergy or being lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite meals! Non-dairy products can be used in your favorite recipes and meals, from a bowl of cereal in the morning to your go to cheesy pasta recipe for dinner.

  • Soy milk has a similar protein content to dairy milk, making it favorable among many, and is fortified with the same vitamins and minerals as dairy milk so you won’t be missing out on nutrition when making this swap! Depending on the brand and flavor you choose (unsweetened or sweetened varieties), it is often lower in calories, sugar, and fat than its dairy counterpart which could be helpful for some. 
  • Almond milk has a lower protein content compared to dairy milk, but boasts lower calories. It’s still going to give you the vitamins and minerals that you would normally get from dairy milk. Almond milk also has a thinner consistency, so it could be a great option for individuals who prefer low-fat or skim dairy milk as well as individuals who are allergic to soy.  
  • Rice milk is perhaps a lesser known non-dairy milk option but still a great one! Rice milk does have a very low protein content which, depending on your diet and health goals, can be unfavorable. But, it would be great for individuals with allergies to dairy milk, soy, or nuts and is the least allergenic option. It is also fortified with all the great vitamins and minerals we need to thrive.

Whichever non-dairy milk replacement you choose, always be sure to consider allergies and read food labels carefully before consuming! 

Hack #2: Swapping Non-dairy Milk in Baked Goods and Other Recipes

The conversion for swapping dairy in baked goods along with savory recipes is 1:1. This couldn’t be easier when attempting to make your favorite recipes that normally call for dairy milk. Opt for an “unsweetened” or “original” flavor when replacing milk with a dairy-free option in savory recipes and try a flavored milk, such as vanilla, for baked goods or sweet recipes!

Kitchen utensils and baking ingredients on blue background. Retro style baking and cooking flat lay, table top view

Swapping dairy in baked goods doesn’t have to be tricky. Try replacing dairy milk with the same amount of non-dairy milk in your favorite recipes!

Hack #3: Dairy-Free Swaps for Butter, Cheese, and Yogurts

These swaps might seem a little more daunting, but rest assured that there are plenty of dairy-free substitutions for your favorite butter, cheese, and yogurt products. As a matter of fact, you’ve likely already seen them sitting right next to the normal dairy products. The trick is to simply find a brand and flavor variation that you or your family will enjoy. With so many different brands on grocery store shelves, including many great store brand options that are often at a lower cost, you are sure to find the right substitute for your favorite products. Just as swapping dairy in baked goods and savory recipes is a 1:1 conversion, swapping butter and cheese in recipes is also an easy 1:1 switch. As always, be sure to read food labels and ensure that the product is allergen safe for the consumer! 

By Lauren Dessaure

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