Tummy trouble, eczema, phlegmy throat and “allergy shiners”—sounds glamourous, right?!
Life with my three-year-old was hard when these ailments of hers flared up. My heart hurt for her because she was miserable and I was so frustrated because I felt like I was failing her as a parent since I couldn’t help her feel better. These symptoms lasted for months and months with no resolution. Finally, we were sent to a pediatric allergist and it was there we learned she has a dairy intolerance.
No dairy? Ok. Done.
Now, if only it were that easy!
Girlfriend LOVED cheese and milk, so finding alternatives that were actually good was a little tricky. Months later, I too discovered that I have a dairy intolerance as well, so then we began the dairy free journey together.
Living in the dairy-loving state of Wisconsin at the time, this was quite the adjustment to make!
Once we removed dairy from her diet and started seeing improved symptoms it was a relief because we finally knew what to do (to avoid) to help her. I wish I had had a little guide of go-to’s to try when making the transition so here, my friends, is my list of dairy free foods that are kid (and mom) approved.
Creamer (let’s be honest, it’s my first love and the reason I drink so much coffee)
I am starting with this one because this was the hardest for me. My new go-to is the Nut Pods creamer. I love the French Vanilla flavor, but they have other flavor options. I like this one because it has a lot less sugar than its other non-dairy competitors. Some others I do like are Coffeemate’s Almond Creamer, Silk almond milk (my favorite of these) and Califia Almond Creamer.
So, not being a big milk drinker myself, this wasn’t too hard to give up. My daughter on the other hand was still drinking milk before bed every night. I was happy to find that there were SO many milk alternatives to choose from. The one we finally landed on was the Silk, unsweetened and unflavored Almond milk. They sell a 3-pack at Costco really inexpensively and it lasts a long time, unlike dairy milk. I also really like the ripple brand (the vanilla is super yummy to make protein smoothies).
This is a great sweet treat; the coconut milk one has a thinner consistency than regular yogurt but not in a bad way. The key lime flavor is really yummy and we buy the plain in the large container and mix with berries.
Cheese that you want to melt
Many dairy free cheeses don’t melt the way we are used to. So, that’s where the Daiya brand comes in. While this doesn’t have the best flavor (in my opinion), my daughter loves this and it melts like real cheddar, which is great for grilled cheese sandwiches. The shredded variety is also great for melting and we use it for pizzas and mac and cheese occasionally.
Cheese for sandwiches
Chao and Follow your Heart sliced cheeses are really really good! I love them on sandwiches and even eat them plain. I was SO SO happy when I found these gems and locally have been able to find them at Sprouts, King Soopers and Whole Foods.
Let me tell you what. A lot of vegan protein powders are straight up gross. BUT! I have found something that is not only palatable, but actually good! Orgain organic has a really good amount of protein and is super delicious in the chocolate fudge flavor. The best price I have found is at Costco, but they also sell it on Amazon and at Sprouts.
I literally have no idea how they did it, but they’ve made a seriously delicious dairy-free keifer. Which, if you didn’t know is basically a liquid yogurt drink. It’s got a fair amount of sugar in it (unfortunately a common thread amongst a lot of dairy free items) but it’s really tasty and a good way to incorporate probiotics to your diet if a probiotic supplement isn’t in your usual routine.
I know that there are a lot of other options, so know that just because they were a good fit for us may not mean they are a great fit for your family. Another side note, is that I do not like to use soy milk or much soy at all, due to hormone issues, so most of these are almond or nut-based.