If you’re cutting dairy from your diet, whether because of lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, you need to follow a few basic nutrition rules so you don’t miss out
Make sure you get enough calcium
If you’re cutting out dairy, you’ll need to up your calcium intake from other sources. Adults need 800mg calcium a day, preferably from their diet. Good sources include: dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli and watercress, almonds, hazelnuts, tofu, pulses, fortified soya products, sesame seeds, salmon, sardines and wholegrains, including wholegrain bread.
Don’t forget the vitamin D
We need vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Good dietary sources include eggs, fortified cereals and oily fish.
Learn to make your own dairy-free treats
There’s no need to spend a fortune in the free-from aisle. It’s easy to make your own dairy-free desserts and snacks, and that way you can control what’s in them. Use avocado to make chocolate mousse, use almond milk to make pancake batter or try light olive oil in cakes in place of butter or spread.
Try oat cream
Oat cream has the same colour and consistency of single cream, but is made from oats and oil instead. It works well in cooking – just add natural flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla to make up for the lack of creamy flavour. It is also lower in calories (145kcal per 100ml instead of 193kcal) than single cream, and a little goes a long way.
Swap cheese for tofu
Try cubes of tofu instead of paneer in Indian dishes like saag. You can also buy flavoured tofu – try pan-frying thin slices of basil tofu instead of halloumi, add it to homemade pizzas or grilled in this recipe for honey-ginger tofu with grilled vegetables.
Get meat-free protein from other sources
Milk, cheese and yogurt are all sources of protein, so if you cut them out, you’ll need to replace them with other types of healthy protein. Eggs are a great source of protein if you’re vegetarian (contrary to what many people believe, eggs are not dairy). Also try quinoa, pulses, nuts and tofu.
Katy Salter is the author of Dairy-Free Delicious (Quadrille; £18.99), out now.