I have known that I was allergic to dairy since I was in middle school. At that time, food allergies were neither accepted nor commonly addressed, unless it was a nut allergy. My parents didn’t even believe I had an allergy, and I remember my mom fretting about my lack of calcium after I chose on my own to give up drinking milk.
I do not follow a ketogenic diet, so some of these alternatives may not be appropriate if you are watching carbs very closely. I would recommend reading the labels and judging for yourself.
Even if you do not follow a low carb diet, you may find some of these substitutes valuable.
Here are some of my favorite dairy substitutions:
I most often drink unsweetened and unflavored Silk Cashew Milk. It has 1g of carbs, 0g of sugar, and 25 calories per cup.
A lot of people really like almond milk and coconut milk, but I much prefer cashew milk because it’s creamy without having any overpowering flavor. It works great in many recipes that call for milk, and you can boil it without worry that it will curdle.
Trader Joe’s has a very good almond milk that I use sometimes.
I’ve tried many creamers, and I always end up going back to Silk Soy Creamer. I don’t eat a lot of soy, but I make an exception for this creamer, and I do limit my quantities of it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t whip up like heavy cream.
There are a bunch of dairy free creamers out there now, so you should try them and see which one you like best.
Warning: The phrase “non-dairy” may be untrue. This phrase most often only refers to being lactose free and may contain other dairy proteins such as whey. If you have an allergy, you should always read the labels and look for whey or milk.
Many brands of margarine are dairy free. We use good old Country Crock because it’s cheap. Some brands, like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter have buttermilk or other dairy, so it’s wise to read labels.
When I need the flavor of real butter, I use Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but I hear it is at stores like Sprouts and Earthfare. Flavor is excellent, and the texture is very similar to real butter. It is a bit more expensive than other alternatives, but I find that it is sometimes worth it.
I still don’t love most dairy free cheeses. The one exception is Chao, but I can only find it sliced in my area. Sometimes I use Daiya’s shredded cheese, but I avoid it more than not.
Cream cheese alternatives have improved a great deal. My favorite is Trader’s Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese. Many people like Kite Hill Cream Cheese, which is found at many grocery stores. I think I like the flavor of the TJ’s cream cheese a little better, and it’s about half the price, but I know many people prefer Kite Hill.
My diet allows for the carbs in yogurt, so I usually use Silk unsweetened plain yogurt. It tastes like plain yogurt, and I often add stevia, cinnamon, or other things to it to give it more flavor. I also sometimes use it as a substitution for sour cream.
Kite Hill has a new dairy free plain Greek yogurt that I can find at one grocery store near me (Publix). I’m still on the fence about the flavor, but I may not have liked dairy-based Greek yogurt, either. If you have a Sprouts or Whole Foods nearby, you might find it there, too.
I don’t really use many recipes that involved whipped cream, but you can put a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scoop the cream off the top for a decent whipped cream substitute.
Dairy Free Low Carb Is Possible
There’s a lot of low carb meal options that can be dairy free. Just a simple meat and vegetable meal with some margarine for flavor can work quite well. Or a nice chicken soup with lots of vegetables?
Do you have a favorite dairy free low carb recipe or meal idea? Share it in the comments below!
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