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11 Helpful Tips For Anyone Who Wants To Eat Less Dairy

It's time to welcome nutritional yeast, nut milks, and avocado ice cream into your life.

1. Try a few dairy-free milk alternatives until you find one that suits your needs.

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There are a ton of dairy-free milks on the market at the moment and they're all different in terms of taste, nutritional value, and sustainability. If you're looking for a creamy substitute for cow's milk, oat milk might be your best bet. If you're looking for a milk to cook with, a lot of people swear by coconut milk in certain recipes. And if you want something with a lot of protein, you might be into soy. You can find almost everything you need to know about dairy-free milks in this post, where two nutritionists share their thoughts and advice.

2. And do the same with dairy-free yogurts.

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Like milk alternatives, dairy-free yogurts are all different. If you're a little nervous to try them yourself, you're in luck because some Goodful writers recently tasted and reviewed four different dairy-free yogurts (cashew, soy, almond, and coconut) and shared their very honest reviews.

3. Familiarize yourself with nutritional yeast.

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OK, sure, it doesn't sound especially appetizing, but nutritional yeast is a game-changer when transitioning to a dairy-free diet. It appears in a bunch of vegan recipes in place of cheese, and is commonly used as a substitute for parmesan cheese. It's also incredible sprinkled over popcorn, so if you're looking for a tasty entry point, that's probably it.

4. Stock your home with dairy-free spreads if toast or bagels are a go-to snack of yours.

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Hummus, smashed avocado, and nut butters are all delicious spread on dairy-free bread, crackers, and bagels.

5. Try your hand at making your own dairy-free ice cream.

Pinterest (and the rest of the internet) is full of super simple dairy-free ice cream recipes, most of which involve banana, coconut milk, or avocado. You can get the recipe for this avocado honey ice cream here.

6. Learn how to check ingredient lists for hidden dairy.

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If you're serious about cutting out dairy completely, you'll have to start reading packaged food labels. Ingredients like whey, casein, and ghee (in some cases this may be suitable for people with dairy intolerances, but would not be suitable for vegans), all contain dairy. Surprising foods like canned tuna fish, luncheon meat, and sausages can also contain dairy, so it's important to familiarize yourself with ingredients and read the fine print. You can find a comprehensive list of foods and ingredients people with milk allergies should avoid here.

7. Don't be afraid to ask waiters if dairy is included in different menu items.

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Even if you assume there's no dairy in a meal, it can still be smart to tell your waiter about your intolerance or diet choice before ordering. For example, restaurants will often cook steaks with butter to add extra flavor.

8. Start cutting dairy out one meal group at a time, if that feels more doable for you.

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Breakfast can be an easy place to start if you find a dairy-free milk or yogurt you love. If lunch or dinner feel more practical for you, skip the cheese from your lunchtime salad or pass on the sprinkle of parmesan over your evening pasta.

9. Alternatively, start with one food item at a time.

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You could start with cheese, milk, or butter. There are a lot of highly rated dairy-free products on the market at the moment, so set out to replace one item at a time. It might take you sampling a few different dairy alternatives until you find one you like, but once you do, you can move on to the next food item on your list.

10. Even if you still eat meat, look for vegan recipes and meals.

Meat or fish can always be added to a recipe in place of another protein or served on the side. Plus, when you start researching vegan recipes, you might be truly surprised by what you find — this three-ingredient vegan queso, for example, is amazing.

11. And remind yourself of why you want to eat less dairy when you're deciding whether or not to have some.

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Maybe dairy wreaks havoc on your digestive system or maybe you're trying to eat a little more ethically — whatever reason you have, keep it front of mind when faced with the choice of whether or not to eat the cheese/drink the milk. And if you do give in, don't beat yourself up about it, okay?

As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.