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  • Writer's pictureStaci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

Eating dairy free? Boost taste of favorite foods with fresh dairy free flavors

Whether you have an allergy, lactose intolerance, or just choose to eat dairy-free, you may wonder if there is any way to boost the flavor of your dairy-free dishes. The answer is yes! With so many new dairy-free products on the market today, there are dairy-free options that are delicious enough for even non-dairy eaters to enjoy. Read below to learn about what dairy-free options are out there and how you can add dairy-free items to your favorite dishes.

What dairy-free milk options are available?

As someone who is lactose intolerant, I've tried just about every dairy-free product out there to find ones that taste great and that I tolerate. Here are the dairy-free milk options I've encountered and the nutritional content of their unsweetened versions per cup:

  • Almond milk:

40 calories

1 gram carbohydrate

0 grams sugar

3 grams fat

2 grams protein

  • Soy milk:

80 calories

4 grams carbohydrate

1 grams sugar

4 grams fat

7 grams protein

  • Rice milk:

120 calories

22 gram carbohydrate

10 grams sugar

2 grams fat

0 grams protein

  • Coconut milk beverage:

50 calories

2 grams carbohydrate

0 grams sugar

5 grams fat

0 grams protein

  • Cashew milk:

25 calories

1 gram carbohydrate

0 grams sugar

2 grams fat

<1 gram protein

In addition to these dairy-free milk options, there are also other unique nut-based milks you may find at natural foods stores such as macadamia nut milk and hazelnut milk, for example. One of my new favorite dairy-free milk options is the almond milk from Better Than Milk. This almond milk drink is made from Italian spring water and has a refreshing, nutty taste that goes perfect with cereal, in coffee, blended into smoothies, as a standalone beverage, or to use in recipes for a subtle almond flavor. I look forward to trying this brand's oat, rice, and hazelnut rice milks.

Dairy-free cheese alternatives

When it comes to dairy-free cheese alternatives, there are a variety of different flavors you can choose from. There are potato starch and oil-based options like Follow My Heart cheeses, which are also soy-free and gluten-free. This dairy-free cheese brand is my personal favorite because it looks, feels, and tastes like the cheese slices I used to eat as a kid (before I developed lactose intolerance).

Other dairy-free cheese options include tofu-based cheeses like Field Roast and cashew-based cheeses like Treeline . Cashew cheeses are great foundations for dips and spreads.

Finally, if you're looking for a dairy-free grated or shaved cheese alternative, then nutritional yeast is your answer. One and one-half tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains 60 calories, 5 grams total carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, and 8 grams protein. It is a delicious dairy-free alternative to grated parmesan cheese and can replace cheese flavors in baked good recipes.

I recently discovered a nutritional yeast=based product called Parma! that comes in delicious flavors like Original, Chipotle Cayenne, Garlicky Green, abd Better Than Bacon. I've used Parma! in a biscuit recipe recently to replace shredded cheese and it tasted amazing. You can also sprinkle it on popcorn, salads, mix in with your favorite protein for a flavor boost, or sprinkle over pasta in lieu of parmesan cheese.

One tablespoon of Original Parma! contains just 30 calories, 1 gram total carbohydrate, 2 grams protein, along with 40% daily recommended value (DRV) of vitamin B12, 70% DRV of vitamin B6, 80% DRV of riboflavin, and 90% DRV of thiamine.

Dairy-free yogurt alternatives

When it comes to yogurt, soy milk yogurt is my favorite, not just because of the higher protein content than other dairy-free yogurts (7 grams per 6 ounces). I like soy milk yogurt like Silk because its nutty taste and smooth texture is delicious and rich. However, if you don't like soy milk yogurt, then there are other dairy-free options you can try.

There are other yogurts made from almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk, but they are typically lower in protein than soy milk yogurt. Coconut milk yogurt, like So Delicious, contains less than 1 gram of protein per 6 ounces, while oat milk yogurt, like contains about 3 grams per 6 ounces. Almond milk yogurt can contain about 5 grams of protein per 6 ounces, but doesn't contain the complete proteins that soy yogurt does.

How can I add dairy-free products to my favorite meals and snacks?

Dairy-free cheese slices can easily fit into any sandwich recipe you may have, while the cashew cheese

options are delicious as dips and spreads. When it comes to nutritional yeast, here are a few ways to enjoy:

  • sprinkle on popcorn

  • add into baked good recipes for extra flavor

  • shake on top of pasta dishes for extra cheesy flavor

  • use as part of a seasoning mix with ground meat or ground meatless meat options when making tacos or burgers

  • Mix into sauce for extra savory flavor

Bottom Line on Dairy-Free Eating

Just because you don't have dairy in your daily eating due to lifestyle choices or because of allergies or intolerances, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on the texture, mouthfeel, and flavor of dairy products. There are so many delicious dairy-free choices out there to drink, eat, and to use to flavor foods, that there is a product perfectly palatable for just about everyone.


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Dec 14, 2021

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