It is a well-known fact that dairy products can cause disturbances to the digestive systems of some people. Dairy contains lactose, a sugar that these people cannot digest properly and it may also contain casein, an animal protein that can irritate the lining of the intestine in those who are allergic to it (3).
If you are lactose intolerant, you generally need to avoid fluid milk and possibly yogurt and soft cheeses which still have a fair amount of lactose in them. Depending on the severity of your situation, you may be able to eat harder aged cheeses without a problem. If you have a milk protein allergy, you need to avoid anything with a trace of dairy in it and look out for potential cross-contamination.
In either case, when you go dairy-free, you will most likely find yourself experiencing fewer stomach aches and cramps as well as more energy throughout the day. In order to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients without any interference from dairy products, here is a week’s worth of dairy-free diet plan meals!
- Breakfast: Power smoothie made with berries, nuts, and plant milk. Try soy, almond or coconut milk instead of dairy
- Lunch: Grilled chicken and baked potatoes with a side of guacamole and salsa
- Dinner: Broccoli soup and whole wheat bread
- Breakfast: Granola cereal made from oats and nuts mixed with plant-based yogurt
- Lunch: Grilled tofu with brown rice, broccoli, and sesame seeds
- Dinner: Grilled chicken, brown rice, and steamed broccoli.
- Snacks: A piece of dark chocolate or some apple slices dipped in almond butter
- Breakfast: Avocado, ham, and egg sandwich
- Lunch: Creamy carrot soup (made with coconut milk instead of cream) and whole wheat bread
- Snacks: A handful of nuts and fresh fruit
- Dinner: Beef stir fry with cauliflower rice
- Breakfast: Oatmeal made from rolled oats and almond milk. Top it off with peanut butter and frozen berries
- Lunch: Tuna salad wrap made with whole wheat tortillas
- Dinner: Spinach, grilled chicken breast, and a side of brown rice
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast
- Lunch: Whole wheat pasta with Italian seasoning and mushrooms topped with olive oil
- Snacks: Celery and carrot sticks dipped in hummus
- Dinner: Broccoli cheese soup and whole wheat bread
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh strawberries and peaches mixed in
- Lunch: Bean salad made with canned beans, chopped vegetables, and vinaigrette dressing
- Snacks: Smoothie made with berries and plant-based yogurt
- Dinner: Fresh fish cooked in garlic butter over whole wheat couscous
- Breakfast: Turkey bacon and egg sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Lunch: Stir-fried vegetables with brown rice
- Snacks: An orange
- Dinner: Spaghetti with turkey meatballs
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Tips For Dairy-Free Diet Plan
Switching from dairy products to plant-based alternatives is not always easy. Some dairy products, such as milk and cheese, can be found in almost every food. It will take time to change your eating habits, but you can do it!
Here are some quick tips for going dairy-free:
- Reach for the unsweetened plant-based yogurt instead of dairy yogurt.
- Choose nut, oat, or coconut milk over cow’s milk.
- Look for meat alternatives that are made with beans or soy protein instead of dairy.
- Try mustard or balsamic vinegar on sandwiches instead of creamy condiments that may contain dairy ingredients.
- Make sure you’re getting enough calcium by reaching for soybeans, almonds, dark leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, and calcium-fortified juices, etc (1).
- When eating out, be mindful of hidden dairy ingredients like butter or cheese in pre-made foods like fries or salads.
- Remember that many products are made with dairy (sometimes without clearly stating it on the label). Cheese often appears in prepackaged food items like noodles, crackers, etc.
- Don’t forget to read ingredient lists! Many companies put milk proteins (whey), whey protein concentrate, casein (from milk), natural flavors (or flavorings which can contain milk products), or lactose (another type of sugar from milk) in their products (3). If you see any of these ingredients listed on the box/packaging/label of the food you’re about to eat, don’t buy it!
- Be mindful of foods labeled as ‘non dairy’ or ‘vegan.’ These products are not always free from milk proteins (3). In some cases these items may actually contain traces of dairy because processing equipment is shared between milk and non-milk based products. If you have an allergy, that can be enough to cause a reaction. It’s even more important to read ingredient lists when you purchase these types of foods so that you can avoid hidden dairy ingredients.
The Bottom Line
A dairy-free diet is completely free of any foods that are derived from or contain milk, cheese, or other dairy byproducts. Dairy allergies are not to be confused with lactose intolerance, which means you simply cannot digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!