Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns.
I’ve consoled many mothers over the years who have felt complete and utter despair when they discovered that they needed to adopt a dairy free diet for breastfeeding.
While I’ve spoken to many new moms struggling with a dairy intolerance symptoms with their baby, not a single one had any good recommendations from their doctor on HOW to eat dairy free while breastfeeding. Is it just common sense – you know – just stop eating it?
Cutting out dairy seems both overwhelming and impossible! The American diet greatly revolves around dairy in one form or another for every single meal of the day. And surely, the worst possible time to enact such a huge diet overhaul is when you are in the midst of life with a newborn baby – sleep deprived, emotional, and exhausted.
The situation can feel desperate, but from someone who has been completely dairy free for over 15 years and is successfully raising three dairy-free kids, I want to pass along a little hope and some helpful tips I have learned along the way.
a DAIRY FREE Diet FOR BREASTFEEDING – What can you eat??
Many moms experience a ravenous appetite while breastfeeding. Cutting dairy feels like the end of all things delicious. It most certainly is not!
You can find many amazing dairy-free options at both restaurants and grocery stores. Unfortunately, most of these great products and options are probably unknown to you right now, for the simple reason that, unless you need something to be dairy free, you probably have never thought twice about it. Now, almost everything feels like a gamble unless you have an ingredient list to read.
One of the biggest challenges many women face is in this situation is isolation from the rest of the family. Few family members choose to deny themselves and jump on the dairy free wagon. A new mother, struggling with a crying baby, often finds herself making two different meals. Typically this is not sustainable and dairy creeps back into her diet.
When I eliminated dairy at the age of 16, there were very few dairy free products on the market. Thankfully, that is no longer the case, and I have compiled a list of amazing and delicious dairy free options for you!
Dairy-free baking is just as simple and tasty as baking with dairy. I have yet to encounter a basic recipe that couldn’t withstand my dairy free modifications. My secret? Subbing in nondairy ingredients. Muffins, pancakes, biscuits, pie crust dough, cakes, bars… you name it, I’ve successfully made it.
- Milk: Any recipe that calls for cow’s milk can be easily converted to a non-dairy milk of choice. My favorite non-dairy milk is regular, unsweetened almond milk. It has a sweet, nutty flavor that is very subtle, which is why I prefer it to the stronger flavor of coconut milk. But I have also had success substituting rice milk and coconut milk for cow’s milk.
- Butter: Earth Balance is my butter substitute of choice, and even my dairy-loving husband enjoys the taste of it. Use it in baking the same way you would use butter. I have used it in frosting, muffins, glazes, and the consistency and flavor is delicious. Earth Balance comes in tubs and sticks. The sticks seem to work a little better for baking.
- Enjoy Life Allergy Free Chocolate Chips: I love that people with common allergies have these little gems to add to their baked goods. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m not above bribing the kids with a few chocolate chips…
If you’re accustomed to cooking with lots of butter and cheese, don’t dismay! The Earth Balance I mentioned above can be subbed for any butter your recipe calls for. I typically use olive oil as the fat when it comes to frying or sautéing.
- Cheese: Dairy free cheese is a bit of a sore spot for some, because in truth, the dairy free option cannot compare to the real thing. The key for me is to consider it something similar but different, and not expect that same cheesy taste and texture. Dairy free cheese has come a long way in recent years and Daiya makes my favorite cheese for cooking. I use the mozzarella shreds for macaroni and cheese, cheesy mashed potatoes, pizza, and more. They also sell block cheese for slicing. Follow Your Heart makes an amazing American style dairy free cheese that is my go-to for sandwiches and cheese and crackers. So Delicious is another dairy free cheese that I enjoy.
It’s discouraging to look through your pantry and realize that most of your favorite snacks foods have some form of dairy in the ingredients. Take heart, nearly all of your snacking needs can be met in a dairy free way!
- Crackers: Ritz crackers, goldfish crackers… they’re dairy landmines. Luckily, a lot of crackers are dairy free and these aren’t hard to find if you’re looking for them. My favorite brands are Simple Mills and Jovial.
- Chips: Way Better makes delicious sprouted grain chips that taste a lot like Doritos.
- Chocolate: Chocolate can be dairy free! Just look for dark chocolate and you’re almost always good to go. Enjoy Life chocolate bars are free from all of the most common allergens – and they are absolutely delicious!
- Ice Cream: Dairy free ice cream may sound like a complete contradiction, but there are actually some really tasty options. So Delicious offers many delectable dairy free desserts and treats. That their product page is definitely worth browsing. Coconut ice cream, cashew ice cream, almond milk ice cream, ice cream bars, frozen yogurt – so many options and I can vouch for nearly all of them because, yes, I have tried pretty much everything over the years.
- Dairy Free M&M’s: Little Secrets carries an entire line of delicious candy coated chocolate treats. They really mimic the idea of M&M’s, and nearly all of their flavors are dairy free. This is a special occasion treat for my kids – and they LOVE them.
- Other Treats: And there is more…Daiya makes a mouthwatering “Cheezecake” that my dairy-loving husband requests regularly. And I truly cannot recommend all of the Hail Merry treats enough. If a dark chocolate tart is something your dairy-free life has been missing, look no further.
Tips for Dining Out
Dining out can seem intimidating when you have a food restriction, but most restaurants are happy to accommodate your needs. Often restaurants have separate menus for people with allergies. PF Changs will print you your own menu with all the dairy free options listed (this is amazing!).
I’ve discovered over the years that many restaurants take dairy-allergies very seriously and are more than happy to check the with the kitchen for safety. Just make sure to say dairy allergy and specify milk and butter (yes, I’ve had servers not realize that butter is dairy!).
- Dairy Landmines: Be careful of hidden dairy! Sauces usually contain some form of dairy, and rice is often soaked in butter. It’s always better to ask! On the flip side, you can still order those warm and delicious breadsticks at Olive Garden — their “butter” is a dairy-free margarine!
- Build-A-Meal Restaurants: Chipotle or Q’doba are always great options because you can easily build your meal without adding dairy. Tex-Mex options are almost always great choices because they can be easily made without dairy. Just ask for the cheese and sour cream to be left off.
- El Dorado is a personal favorite when it comes to amazing mexican food. Many sandwich shops have a dairy free breads. You can often find that information online. Be cautious when asking counter personnel these questions. You may need to request to speak to a manager or chef, they are more likely to take your seriously.
- Glass Nickel Pizza – Glass Nickel Pizza has amazing vegan options, including a pizza with vegan sauce and Daiya dairy-free cheese!
- Bloom Bake Shop – Bloom Bake Shop is located in Middleton and downtown on Monroe Street. This bake shop uses local ingredients to create delicious, made from scratch dairy free cupcakes, bars, brownies, cookies, and breakfast sandwiches. (They also cook dairy filled treats as well!) Seem too good to be true? When find yourself staring at their case FULL of dairy-free cupcakes and treats, the biggest question you’ll have to ask yourself is an important one: WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE!? (The vanilla is my personal favorite.
- Whole Foods – Whole Foods is an obvious choice, and a good one. Our family loves shopping at Whole Foods, and we often stop to grab specialty groceries, organic vegetables, and treats from the deli. They offer a variety of vegan pre-prepared deli dishes, and although it varies by the day, you might find pasta salad, twice baked potatoes, green beans, or sandwiches. Don’t forget their pizza bar with hot pizza by the slice, including a cheese free option that is really delicious. (Cheese free pizza may seem like a sad state of affairs, but you just have to look at it as something different and not expect a typical pizza taste.) The Whole Foods bakery section is full of dairy free options! Chocolate chip cookies, a variety of cakes, most of their pies are vegan, and, the treat I reach for the most – vegan chocolate chip scones. YUM.
It’s only a season
Keep in mind that this is only a season. A dairy-free diet for breastfeeding need not be permanent, and it doesn’t have to be the end of all good food. It’s actually pretty easy to adapt when you’re armed with a little knowledge and some helpful products that make your life easier, and tastier.
apple wellness – the healthy place
The Healthy Place is a supplement store with two convenient locations in the Madison Wisconsin area – Fitchburg and Sun Prairie. We specialize in gluten-free foods and other health food products. Stop in and meet our Wellness Consultants. They love to answer questions and provide you with knowledge to make choices that support your health.
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