I️f you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you probably know I️ have been Paleo and dairy-free for over 3 years now. I️ will occasionally have foods with gluten (it’s hard to pass up French bread, right?!), but I️ avoid dairy entirely. I️ cut both out and went Paleo when I️ was nursing my second baby because she was having lots of reflux issues. Since it seemed to help, I️ continued it and by the time I️ stopped nursing, I️ was so comfortable avoiding dairy and gluten that I️ had no reason to start eating either of those again.
I️ also admit that on the occasions where I️’ve eaten small amounts of dairy or gluten since then, my body doesn’t tolerate it well and I️ feel very lethargic for several days afterward. I️ decided it simply wasn’t worth it to me, so now if I️ crave something in particular, I️ opt for a dairy- or gluten-free alternative. I️ wanted to share some of my current favorite dairy-free swaps, since I️ have had quite a few people ask me for suggestions!
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Use EARTH BALANCE instead of butter.
While small amounts of butter don’t seem to bother me, I️ try to avoid it as much as possible. Instead, we use Earth Balance spread in its place. I️t honestly tastes the same and seems to do the job just as well. I️ have not used it in place of butter in things like chocolate chip cookies, etc. that require baking, so I️ can’t speak to its performance with that type of thing. But for cooking purposes and other no-bake items, like Rice Krispie Treats, it does a great job.
Use ALMOND MILK instead of dairy milk.
We used almond milk long before I️ went dairy-free, but it’s become a permanent staple in our refrigerator these days. We use it for anything that calls for milk, even the girls’ macaroni and cheese. If you need *buttermilk* for a recipe (like pancakes), try this ratio: 1 cup of almond milk to 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Mix the two in a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes before incorporating into your recipe.
A runner-up dairy-free swap, in my opinion, is cashew milk – it’s very creamy and works well in recipes.
Use ALMOND OR OAT CREAMER instead of dairy creamer.
We’ve also been using non-dairy creamer for several years – even my husband converted over! We both decided we liked the taste of the almond milk creamer (Silk Vanilla Almond Creamer is our favorite) and it froths pretty well. Recently, I️ tried Silk Oatmilk Creamer (Oatmeal Cookie flavor) and I️’ve been hooked on it. Keep in mind that all creamer has sugar, so even dairy-free creamer isn’t the BEST possible option. If you’re looking for something even healthier, try Nutpods! I️ like these too, but admit that I️ like a little sweetness in my coffee most of the time.
Use DAIRY-FREE CHEESE instead of regular cheese.
Coming from someone who used to put cheese on everything, I️’m amazed by how well I️ transitioned to dairy-free cheese! I️’ve tried so many different ones and I️ will eat any of them, but I️ definitely have my preferences. I️ think Daiya brand is my favorite and it melts well (so it’s great for pizza or anything baked), but I️ also don’t mind Trader Joe’s Almond or Cashew Cheese Shreds. If I️ had to choose my least favorite, it would be Follow Your Heart brand – it has very little flavor and doesn’t melt…at all.
USE PALEO SALAD DRESSINGS instead of regular dressings.
I️’ve found it so easy to find delicious salad dressing alternatives these days, with so many brands hopping on board the Paleo/Whole30 train. Some of my favorite brands are Hilary’s, Primal Kitchen and Tessemae’s. I️ also like using balsamic vinegar and olive oil and Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette or Green Goddess Salad Dressing.
Other Favorite Dairy-Free Swaps
- Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
- Coconut Cream Whipped Topping
- Vegan Queso
- Nutritional Yeast (replaces cheese)
- Canned Coconut Milk (great in recipes)
- Coconut or Cashew Milk Ice Cream
- Coconut or Almond Milk Yogurt
- Vegan Protein Powder (I️ like Orgain)
- Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
I️’ve had quite a few people say they think going dairy-free will be too hard, but honestly, it gets easier after a few weeks. Plus, there are so many great dairy-free swaps these days that it’s easier than ever to make the switch!
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