I am familiar with milk-free, dairy-free cooking because I don’t, shouldn’t, can’t eat dairy. But I still do, and that’s a problem.
Ice cream. I love it. Sadly, ice cream doesn’t love me—and it’s starting to be clear that it doesn’t love my children either, though they are still happily in denial. This fact punched me in the stomach again over the weekend when my family had ice cream and I had a few bites. Yes, I know better. I’ve spent my whole adult life avoiding dairy, but what I have is a food sensitivity rather than an allergy. Both need to avoid dairy, though for parents who need to create 100% dairy-free meals, the consequences of a few bites are far greater.
Whether you are avoiding milk and dairy because of intolerances or you need to completely change your way of cooking and eating to cut out all traces of dairy, here are a few tips on allergy-free, dairy-free meals for children and the whole family.
What to drink? Soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk all have a light, mild enough taste that you could drink them. My dairy delivery service offers all of these, and I have both soy milk and orange juice delivered with our local milk.
What to put on cereal? Though you could go with soy, rice, or almond milk, I find that cereal with orange juice suits me better.
What to put in sauces? I use light coconut milk. We eat curry a lot, and that taste works really well in some other sauces.
What to use for baking? Oil when your recipe uses molasses, honey, or other liquids. Nut butter when you can beat enough lightness into the batter. Margarine or vegetable shortening when you are making dense baked goods like cookies.
What to spread on toast? Peanut butter*, homemade or sugar-free jam, Marmite (takes a strong constitution or a British nostalgia), tree-nut cheese (like cream cheese), or Tofutti (like cream cheese).
*An allergy to peanuts is uncommon (about 1% of the population) but severe. Use peanuts or even tree nuts as milk substitutes carefully until you are sure your child shows no signs of allergy.
- Food allergy facts and resources on EcoBabySteps.
- Kids with Food Allergies is a national nonprofit providing support and community for families. They have a recipe database available to paid members.