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If you are dairy-free like me, you know the struggle of finding healthy, dairy-free snacks. But I’m here to help! There are tons of allergy-friendly foods to enjoy, whether you buy them at the store, or make them yourself at home.
Trying to figure out what to eat when you are new to a particular way of eating or to a new food allergy, can be a challenge. Changing dietary needs are always a headache. But the good news is that, even if you miss cheese, you have lots of options.
Wondering what snacks are dairy-free? First, let’s talk a little about what it means to avoid dairy because there are two different approaches.
- Lactose Intolerance – If you are lactose intolerant, there some many dairy products you can actually still have. These days, there are perfectly delicious and real tasting, lactose-free milks and milk products available to you. They are real dairy that have had the lactose removed.
- Dairy Intolerance (or allergy) – If you have an actual food allergy to all dairy, you have to be far more strict, like me. Any type of dairy products, lactose free or otherwise will cause a reaction from your milk allergies. Even things like whey protein powder are an issue for folks in this category.
For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on avoiding all dairy completely.
Is A Dairy Free Diet Healthy?
A dairy-free diet is absolutely healthy! You don’t need dairy to get adequate amounts of calcium (which is the primary reason people consume dairy). Believe it or not, there are actually better ways to get your daily dose of calcium. Dark leafy greens are a major contributor.
Healthy Dairy Free Snacks
So what are some good, healthy dairy-free snacks? Let’s dive in!
The truth is, you have entire food groups to choose from. From raw fruits and fresh vegetables to beans, meats, and grains, it’s all dairy-free if you prepare them without dairy.
What Are Some Good Dairy Free Snacks?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need dairy to enjoy good snacks. There are TONS of dairy-free, healthy snack ideas.
Healthy Dairy-Free Snack Ideas
Dairy Free Hummus & Dips
Dairy Free Dry Goods
What Snacks Are Dairy And Soy Free?
If you are also avoiding soy in addition to dairy, store-bought snacks become pretty limited. Soy is in everything these days. It’s often best to spend a little time on the weekend preparing snacks for the week so you don’t have to be at the mercy of the limited supply at the store. At least if you are accustomed to pre-packaged snacks.
That being said, there is so much that is not processed that can be enjoyed as a healthy snack. Pretty much any produce you can eat raw can be enjoyed as a snack. Add a homemade dip like hummus for veggies and you’ve got a very enjoyable snack that is both diary-free and soy-free.
What Snacks Are Dairy-Free And Gluten-Free?
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities on top of avoiding dairy, all is not lost. Here again, your options are pretty expansive. Anything that does not contain wheat (and isn’t cross-contaminated), while also being diary-free, will work. And believe it or not, that’s not as restricting as it sounds.
So here again, you have the entire world of produce at your disposal. There are many dairy-free and gluten-free crackers on the market (like “Mary’s Gone Crackers”), or you can make your own.
Healthy Dairy Free Snacks For Toddlers And Little Kids
If your little kiddo can’t have dairy, the dairy-free snacks you give them should be kept simple. Both for your sanity and their health.
Think chopped fresh fruits, dairy-free crackers, mini muffins, mini smoothies, apple sauce, banana ice cream, hummus, and energy bites. You can even make your own Lara Bars at home if you have a food processor. I find if they like the taste of what they are eating, it doesn’t really matter to them if it’s dairy-free or not. They just like yummy food!
Healthy Dairy Free Snack Bars
If you prefer a snack bar for easy travel, road trips, or just a busy workday, you have a few options here as well.
As mentioned above, you can make your own Lara Bars. Get creative here because there are a ton of flavors you can play around with!
- Chocolate Chip Protein Bars – Use dairy-free chocolate chips and substitute the whey protein with a pea protein or egg protein powder.
- Pumpkin Spice Protein Bars – Here again, simply substitute the whey protein powder for a pea or egg protein powder. Easy!
- No Bake Granola Bars
- Nutty Coconut Granola Bars
- Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
Healthy Dairy Free Snack Ideas
- Peanut butter, almond butter or any nut butter (with celery or dairy free crackers – this is a great soy-free and gluten-free option as well. Mary’s Gone Crackers are really allergy friendly, but read the ingredient list to be sure.)
- Tahini – Mix with a little salt and garlic for a delicious dip or spread.
- Fresh fruit
- Dairy free ice cream
- Tortilla chips
- Sunflower seed butter (An option for some nut-free folks)
- Brown rice crackers (or rice cake) – A delicious, dairy-free,gluten-free, soy-free, whole grain option!
- Dairy free chocolate chips
- Apple chips
- Trail mix
- Dairy-free yogurt
- Sweet potato chips
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Whole grain puffs – For example, puffed brown rice or puffed millet. Mix these with some dairy-free chocolate chips and chopped nuts for a kind of “trail mix”.
It’s worth mentioning that healthy fats often make fantastic snacks because they keep us full until our next meal. Used responsibly, you can absolutely use healthy fats as an awesome way to enjoy great snacks!
Shopping For Dairy Free Snacks
When your diet changes, it can take a few trips to the grocery store before you really feel comfortable in the aisles.
The best thing you can do is learn what names dairy goes by, and then read every ingredient list of every product you put into your grocery cart. It’s time-consuming at first, but it pays off in the long run.
Some staples to find right away are:
- Dairy-free bread
- Diary-free milk alternative
- Dairy-free cheese alternative (vegan cheeses are best, though they take a little getting used to) Note that some folks can handle goat milk. It’s worth a shot if cow milk is the basis for your allergy.
- Dairy-free butter – My favorite substitute is coconut oil. But you can also purchase vegan butter. Miyoko’s is my favorite, though a bit pricey.
Look for snacks that don’t have a ton of added sugars. Try to find some that have at least a few grams of protein, and make sure you find a great alternative for the foods you consider to be “basic” or “staples” in your household. Because if you can find replacements for those things you use the most, it won’t be such a big struggle to make the switch.
Easy Dairy Free Substitutions
- Milks – Any dairy milk can be replaced by non-dairy milk. Try a few to see which on you like best. Unsweetened almond, cashew and oat milk are my favorites.
- Cheese – While cheese is admittedly the toughest part about going dairy free, that doesn’t mean you have to go totally without. If you can find a vegan cheese you like, you can use that, or use nutritional yeast to add a somewhat cheesy flavor to something you’re making.
- Creamers – As with dairy milk, there are non-dairy creamers on the market. But you can always make your own as well. I have two recipes for a soy based creamer, and a pumpkin spice creamer. Give one a try!
Have A Sweet Tooth?
There are lots of dairy-free ice creams on the market. And remember that anything labeled as vegan will be dairy-free as well. With all the vegan desserts on the market these days, the possibilities are endless. You can find everything from dairy-free ice cream, to dairy-free cookies and brownies.
But if you want to keep things healthy, you’ll need to do a little investigative research in the beginning. Just take a deep breath and take your time at the store. Read labels, or bake at home. You can find all my healthy dessert recipes here.
And remember, I have a ton of dairy free snack recipes on this site. Follow any of the links above to try a few! Finding an easy snack to always keep on hand doesn’t have to be stressful or frustrating. You’ve got this!