People choose to go dairy-free for a variety of reasons. Some have tested positive for a dairy allergy or struggled with symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Others experience signs of dairy sensitivity. Still, others want to test whether eliminating dairy would improve their health struggles. Each is a valid reason for avoiding dairy.
If you have also decided to cut out dairy, there are some things you should know about how to do it in a healthy way.
Below are a few tips to help you meet all your nutrient needs:
First things first, you have to be prepared. When you are on the journey to going dairy-free, plan ahead wherever possible to make the transition easier. Going out for lunch? Look up plant-based options in restaurants and cafés beforehand.
Make a meal plan
Planning meals is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Skipping meals or relying on fast food can result in missing out on crucial nutrients that your body needs to function properly.
To make a meal plan, start by creating a grocery list of healthy and nutritious foods. Consider incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats into your plan.
Plan your meals for the week ahead, taking into account your schedule and any events that may impact your eating habits.
Meal planning not only ensures that you receive the necessary nutrients but it also saves time, reduces stress and encourages healthier habits overall.
By making a meal plan, you will be on your way to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
Avoid hidden dairy
Do not assume that your diet is dairy-free just because you do not eat cheese or milk. Energy bars, soups, salad dressings, crackers and flavoured potato chips can contain dairy.
Reading labels will help you avoid the hidden dairy sources. A good way to spot hidden dairy is to look at the allergy warning under the ingredients.
Look for healthy dairy-free swops
There are so many ways to switch from dairy products to nutrient-rich dairy-free products in your diet.
Some healthy swops that you can do daily include substituting nut butter for cream cheese on your toast, hummus for cheese in your sandwich wrap, soy milk for whole milk in your coffee, avocado for sour cream in your burrito bowl, and plant-based protein powder for whey products in your protein shakes – the options are endless.
Remember why you are doing it
When you are eating out, it can be a bit trickier to say no to dairy – all those shared apps and no vegan cheese options. The key is to remember why you opted to give it up in the first place.