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Easy and Healthy Substitutes for Dairy Products

By Lana Bandoim

Whether you have lactose intolerance or cannot eat dairy for another reason, there are easy substitutes. It is hard to make a grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese or dunk cookies in a glass without milk. When dairy is not an option, consider using one of the following healthy substitutes.

Milk Substitutes

There are many dairy milk substitutes, and some of them have additional flavors. The most common options in grocery stores are soy, rice, almond, cashew and coconut milk. In addition, health food stores may also carry oat, flax, hemp, teff and quinoa milk. All of these healthy substitutes have protein, and some are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D. Moreover, you can find flavored versions such as chocolate soy milk or vanilla almond milk.     

Cream Substitutes

In addition to being a popular topping for pies and cakes, cream is frequently an ingredient in baking. However, heavy cream, half-and-half, light cream and whipped cream can be substituted. The easiest alternative is to whip coconut milk until it is the right texture. Whipped coconut milk can be used instead of dairy cream. Coconut is low in cholesterol, but it has protein, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and manganese.

Cheese Substitutes

Whether you are making the family’s favorite macaroni and cheese or putting together a cheese sandwich, dairy is not the only option. Several brands make dairy-free cheese from soy, cashews and almonds. There are also cheese products made from vegetable oils, pea protein and tapioca starch. If you need to replace Parmesan cheese, consider using nutritional yeast because it creates a similar flavor without dairy.

Butter Substitutes

Not only is butter a popular spread for toast, it is also part of many recipes. Fortunately, there are butter substitutes that are creamy and delicious. Most alternatives are made from vegetable or nut oils. There are coconut, cashew, almond, peanut, soy and sunflower seed butters. Although the nutritional value varies, they are all good sources of protein.

Sour Cream Substitutes

Sour cream alternatives are more difficult to find in grocery stores, but some shops carry soy sour cream that does not have dairy. Another option is to make a sour cream substitute at home with cashews, tofu or sunflower seeds. For example, you can make cashew sour cream by soaking the nuts in water and pureeing them in a blender with lemon juice, salt and vinegar.

The next time a recipe requires dairy, you can use a healthy substitute. From soy milk to coconut cream, there are many options that are easy to find and still taste delicious.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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