Healthy and Simple Swaps for Your Favorite Dairy Products
There are many reasons to not eat dairy—lactose intolerance is only one of them. Although it’s a staple in American diets, dairy products are not as healthy as you might be led to believe.
Dairy products like yogurt and cheese offer a handful of health benefits, and eating high-quality grass-fed dairy in moderation is quite safe. But claims about how dairy, especially milk, is essential for growth in children and maintaining bone health in adults are grossly misleading.
Healthy Dairy Alternatives for Your Favorite Dairy Products
Research shows when it comes to dairy, the risks outweigh the benefits. Swearing off dairy can reduce inflammation and digestive problems, improve complexion, aid weight loss and even slash your risk of cancer. Fortunately, dairy alternatives can offer you the benefits of dairy products minus the health risks.
If you want to reduce or cut your dairy consumption, try these healthy and easy dairy alternatives—we promise you won’t miss the real stuff.
Milk is a dairy product that’s incredibly easy to recreate. The most common milk substitutes are nut milks and coconut milk. The flavors are different from cow’s milk, but they’re delicious and healthy.
Soy, coconut and almond milk are a staple in most grocery stores now. Almond milk is definitely the healthiest choice among all plant-based milks. It is low-calorie, cholesterol-free and rich in nutrients. It also contains less sodium, fat, saturated fat and carbohydrates compared to dairy milk.
Coconut whipping cream
With only three ingredients—coconut cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract—you can make some delicious coconut whipping cream. Check out this recipe by the Minimalist Baker. It’s a perfect topping for vegan and non-dairy desserts.
Nutritional Yeast or Vegan Cheese
Nutritional yeast has a delicious umami flavor, making it one of the best alternatives to dairy cheese. As it comes in flake form it’s a perfect topping for sprinkling on top of potatoes, pasta or any food you would top with grated cheese.
Vegan cheese made of zucchini and cashews is another alternative to cheese. It has a texture similar to cheese and is made of a mix of veggies, nuts, nutritional yeast, natural enzymes, oil, etc.
Probiotics in yogurt make it a healthy food, but if you’re lactose intolerant there are many dairy-free yogurt options that are widely available. You can choose from yogurts made with coconut, soy, cashews, chia seeds or almond milk. Many varieties are fortified with healthy bacteria to provide probiotic benefits equivalent to dairy-based yogurt.
Dairy-Free Margarine or Fruit Purees
You can replace butter with non-hydrogenated margarine for baking, cooking and as spreads. Pureed apples, bananas, pineapples or pears are great options for baking sweets and quick breads. They are healthier than butter and have a great “fat” consistency that’s full of flavor.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Dairy-free ice creams made with coconut and almond milk as well as frozen blended fruit are commonly available. They are healthier than full-fat dairy ice cream and quite easy to prepare, so make yourself some delicious vegan ice-cream at home.
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