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Cheat Sheet

Living Dairy-Free For Dummies

From Living Dairy-Free For Dummies by Suzanne Havala Hobbs

Living a dairy-free lifestyle can be wonderful way to improve your health and well-being, and thankfully the transition doesn’t have to be difficult. Removing dairy from your diet simply takes some creativity and dedication. Swapping out dairy-free snacks for your old dairy-laden ones can be a great place to start. After you become more comfortable, you can try planning weekly menus that incorporate fewer and fewer dairy products.

Experimenting with Some Great Dairy-Free Snacks

Snacking is a way of life for most folks, but those who opt to go dairy-free may have to make some special adjustments to their old snacking habits. The tasty (and convenient) choices in the following list make smart dairy-free snacks or even light meals. Each option contains fewer than 200 calories and provides a dose of health-supporting vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. To satisfy your cravings, try some of these nondairy munchies:

  • A cup of vanilla- or lemon-flavored soy yogurt with a scoop of fresh fruit salad

  • Half of a whole-grain pita pocket filled with hummus, grated carrots, and thinly sliced cucumber rounds

  • Several whole-grain crackers smeared with peanut butter, and several fresh orange wedges

  • A bowl of whole-grain breakfast cereal with almond milk (plain or vanilla-flavored)

  • A bagel half topped with melted nondairy cheese, a tomato slice, and a few twists of freshly cracked black pepper

  • A handful of tortilla chips with your favorite salsa

  • Peach slices topped with granola and a dollop of soy yogurt

  • Bell pepper, celery, and carrot slices with black bean dip

  • A cup of tomato basil soup with a few breadsticks

  • A few pieces of bruschetta and a small bunch of grapes

Planning Quick and Easy Dairy-Free Menus

Planning your meals ahead of time can help make the transition to a dairy-free lifestyle that much easier. When you plan your menus, look for ways to add dairy-free variations in flavor, texture, color, and food temperature (hot and cold) to each meal. Variety adds interest and helps to ensure that your meals include a range of valuable nutrients.

The samples in the following list vary in calorie content, but they’re all low to moderate in calories. Mix and match these simple meal ideas to create your own healthful dairy-free menus:

  • Menu ideas for Day 1:

    • Breakfast: Two whole-grain waffles with pure maple syrup, a scoop of vanilla soy yogurt, and a handful of sliced strawberries

    • Lunch: A small green salad with vinaigrette dressing, a slice of quiche, and a small whole-grain roll with trans-fat-free, dairy-free margarine

    • Dinner: A small green salad with vinaigrette dressing, vegetable lasagna, a thick slice of Italian bread with garlic spread, and a small dish of nondairy ice cream

  • Menu ideas for Day 2:

    • Breakfast: Shredded Wheat with rice milk (plain or vanilla-flavored), two slices of whole-grain toast with trans-fat-free, dairy-free margarine and jelly, and a small glass of orange juice

    • Lunch: A bowl of potato and leek soup, several carrot and bell pepper sticks with hummus dip, and several whole-grain crackers

    • Dinner: A cup of soup, plate of whole-wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce and nondairy Parmesan cheese, a slice of whole-grain bread with trans-fat-free, dairy-free margarine, and a dish of nondairy ice cream

  • Menu ideas for Day 3:

    • Breakfast: Yogurt parfait made with layers of vanilla soy yogurt, fresh berries, and granola

    • Lunch: Two slices of nondairy cheese (or cheeseless) pizza and watermelon chunks (when in season)

    • Dinner: A panini filled with nondairy cheese and sautéed vegetables, a scoop of nondairy cole slaw, and a cup of dairy-free chocolate pudding

  • Menu ideas for Day 4:

    • Breakfast: A breakfast burrito made with a whole-wheat flour tortilla wrapped around a scrambled egg, black beans, cooked potato chunks, avocado slices, and salsa, and a cup of fruit salad on the side

    • Lunch: A nondairy cheese and spinach quesadilla, a small green salad, and a piece of in-season fresh fruit

    • Dinner: A black bean burrito, steamed broccoli, and melon slices (when in season)

  • Menu ideas for Day 5:

    • Breakfast: A bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and almond milk (plain or vanilla-flavored), and a small glass of orange-pineapple juice

    • Lunch: A dairy-free grilled cheese sandwich, a cup of tomato soup, and apple slices

    • Dinner: A small green salad, shrimp paella, and a slice of banana bread

  • Menu ideas for Day 6:

    • Breakfast: Two whole-grain pancakes with pure maple syrup and a slice of fresh cantaloupe (when in season)

    • Lunch: A big bowl of marinated three-bean salad, two slices of whole-grain toast with trans-fat-free, dairy-free margarine, and a glass of unsweetened iced tea

    • Dinner: Vegetable curry with steamed rice, steamed bok choy or Chinese cabbage, and a dish of nondairy rice pudding

  • Menu ideas for Day 7:

    • Breakfast: Two slices of French toast with pure maple syrup, fresh orange slices, and a cup of coffee or tea

    • Lunch: A luncheon-sized plate of nachos and a cup of in-season fresh fruit chunks

    • Dinner: A bowl of chili, a square of cornbread, broccoli florets and carrot slices with nondairy Ranch-style dip, and a frozen fruit bar

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