I have had issues with dairy for a few years now and have acquired some best practice along the way when it comes to shopping for products that are free from the ‘d’ word. So, I am sharing them with you today so you don’t fall into the same traps I did.
Dairy is in a lot of things: Be mindful that milk can crop up in a lot of things that you wouldn’t expect so always check the label if you’re not sure. I was surprised to find that milk, cream and cheese finds its way into crisps, bread, sauces and soups to name a few- ingredients I was not expecting to be listed in these products. You can always check online ahead of your shop if you are not sure and don’t want to spend your time in the supermarket label checking.
There are alternatives for everything: Don’t worry about getting hold of your favourite foods as there are alternatives for everything so you can still enjoy carbonara, pizza, curry, peaches and cream, ice cream sundaes and chocolate. Just check the free-from aisle in your local shop or supermarket and they are bound to have a replacement for the things you usually eat. If not, you can often get them off Amazon or directly from the brand’s website.
Take for instance, the new Nush’s gut-friendly, spreadable Almond Milk & Chive Cheeses (think dairy-free Philadelphia, with added probiotics) which are perfect for if you are missing spready cheese on crackers, carbonara or cheese and ham sandwiches.
Avoid bulk buying: After a little research on my favourite shopping site, it revealed to me that bulk buying branded dairy free products is not the cheapest option. If you are fond of a particular brand (I am partial to the Alpro cream and custard) it’s probably cheaper to buy it in bulk at the supermarket rather than have it sent to your door. Prices change all the time, so always check when you need to restock, but supermarkets are good at keeping their branded prices lower than shopping sites and will have the odd multibuy offer too.
Try own brands first: Supermarkets are bringing out new products all the time that have zero dairy in them from cheese and milk to yoghurts and cream, you can probably get an own brand option for what you are looking for. These are often much cheaper than the branded items, so keep your eye out for what lies next to the big brands on the shelf and you might just save some money.
Some recipes taste just as good without dairy: If you are working to a tight budget, try making your favourite dairy laden recipe without the milk, cheese or cream alternative. You never know, it might taste just as nice as it does with the white stuff. For instance, curries without cream, cakes without frosting and fruit salad without ice cream, can all taste great sans the dairy if you prepare them right.
Try lots of different brands: If you can’t find something you really like, don’t give up and think you will never be able to enjoy your favourite product again. Try all the different options available to you. For example, it took me ages to find a curry paste I liked, and after sampling a few I settled on Minarah’s Mild Curry Paste to make my tikka with (because there is milk in some curry pastes too!). Some people struggle to find the perfect faux cheese, you may have to be a guinea pig for a while before you seek out something you will buy repeatedly. It’s a process of elimination, but you will be glad you put in the time when you land on something you really like.
Happy dairy free shopping!