Last week’s blog post was all about identifying hidden sources of lactose that could be unknowingly causing you digestive discomfort. Removing dairy from your diet isn’t easy, especially if these are some of your favourite foods (who doesn’t love a good sharp cheddar 😉 Not to worry! There are many great alternative products out there so you don’t have to feel like you are missing out. Since dairy products play a role in our overall health as the main sources of vitamin D and calcium, we want to make sure that we’re still getting enough of these important nutrients. Check out these tips below for a smooth transition to a dairy free life!

1. Get Enough!

You can still consume a healthy diet without dairy, just ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D from alternative sources. The chart below gives the recommended amounts of vitamin D and calcium adults should be aiming to get each day.

Calcium Vitamin D
Adults 19-50 1000 mg 600 IU
Adults 51-70  1000 mg – 1200 mg 600 IU
Adults >70 1200 mg 800 IU

Calcium and Vitamin D have many important functions in our body, the main one being the prevention of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes your bones to weaken, making you more susceptible to bone fractures. Consuming enough of both these nutrients decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis later on in life.

2. Include Non-dairy Sources of Calcium & Vitamin D in Your Diet

Dairy products are not the only places you can find Calcium and Vitamin D! Many other delicious and nutritious foods are packed with these nutrients. Trying to consume the foods listed below will help to meet your needs.

*** For more expert advice, talk to your dietitian about a custom diet that will help you get enough calcium for your needs.

Calcium

Spinach

Kale

Collards

Sardines & Anchovies

Tofu

-Beans (Navy & White)*

Salmon

Turnips (green)

* Not FODMAP friendly

Vitamin D

Egg Yolks

Salmon

White fish

Mackerel

 

3. Milk and Alternative Sources that are Low in Lactose

Those who are lactose intolerant may be able to tolerate dairy products with a low lactose load. Although each person’s tolerance to lactose is different, most people suffering from lactose intolerance can tolerate servings of food with less then 6 g of lactose at one time. You know your body, so monitor your symptoms while you are including low lactose foods. If you aren’t looking to completely eliminate lactose, consider the following milk products or try dairy foods that are labeled as “lactose free” – there are several brands of lactose free yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, hard cheese, and sour cream!

TIP: Eating small portions of lactose containing foods and consuming them with a large meal (high in fibre or fat) will help to decreases your symptoms.

Food Item Serving Size Lactose Load (g)
Yogurt (note: the cultures in yogurt help to digest lactose) 175 mL (3/4 cup) 6-8.5
Cottage cheese 125 mL (½ cup) 3
Sour cream 60 mL (1/4 cup) 2
Evaporated milk 15 mL (1 Tbsp) 1.5
Cream cheese 50 g (1½ oz) 1.5
Blue cheese 50 g (1½ oz) 1
Hard cheese (mozzarella, Swiss/Emmental, Parmesan, cheddar) 50 g (1½ oz) <1
Butter 5 g 0.1

4. Choosing a Dairy Free Milk Alternative

There are many different types of milk alternatives available such as a soy, rice, oat, hemp, potato, almond, or coconut beverages. Milk alternatives are very versatile and can be used anywhere you would use regular cow’s milk. I love almond milk with gluten free granola for breakfast, in my lattes, and I also for baking! With so many choices, how do you choose which product is best?  Well, here are some tips to help you do so:

  • Each product has it’s own unique flavour and texture. Try them out to see which one you like best!
  • If you’re following a Low FODMAP diet, beverages that are FODMAP friendly include almond, coconut, rice, hemp, potato and oat beverages.
  • Original or unsweetened options will have the most neutral flavour and are great for everyday use. Chocolate and vanilla options are great for an occasional treat but can contain a lot of added sugars and may contain some high FODMAP ingredients.
  • Shake the beverage before pouring for the smoothest consistency; things tend to settle to the bottom of the container!
  • Look for words like “fortified” or “enriched” with Vitamin D and Calcium.
  • Soy milk is the only alternative with a comparable protein content to cows milk. So if you are using another type of milk, make sure you include other sources of protein in your meal. **Soy milk made from soy protein is considered low FODMAP, but not the kind that’s made from soy beans.

Nutritional Comparison

Beverage (enriched; original flavour) Calories

(kcal)

Protein

(g)

Fat

(g)

Carbs

(g)

Sugar

(g)

Calcium

%DV

Vitamin D

%DV

Cow’s milk (1%)** 108 9 2.5 13 13 30% 45%
Soy 100 7 4 8 4 35% 25%
Hemp 100 4 6 8 6 30% 25%
Oat 130 4 2.5 24 19 35% 25%
Almond 50 1 2.5 6 5 30% 25%
Rice 120 1 2.5 24 10 30% 25%
Potato 70 0 0 20 2 30% 15%
Coconut 70 0 4.5 8 7 30% 30%

Designing a diet without dairy may be a challenge at first, but you’ll get it. Keep these tips in mind when making food product choices without lactose. Remember to keep your diet balanced and try to include all the good stuff your body needs.

 

Much Love & Good Eating,

Stephanie