top ways to have a balanced diet without dairy

Whether you give up dairy as a dietary choice, for ethical reasons or due to a medical condition, you must find nutritionally equivalent substitutes that replace the lost nutrients – and that can seamlessly stand in for dairy products in everyday cooking. Giving up dairy can seem daunting at first, but there are many delicious and nutritious dairy replacements that make dairy-free living an easy endeavor. Here’s how to balance your diet without dairy.

Though eliminating any food group from your diet can cause nutritional deficiencies, going dairy-free doesn’t have to mean your family’s health will suffer. The essential nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and protein, are available in many non-dairy foods, as well.

Before you start a dairy-free regimen, consult with your doctor or a nutritionist to get the best advice on dairy-free living for you and your family. Additionally, if dairy products – milk, cream, butter, yogurt and cheese – have played a major role in your everyday cooking, you’ll have to do some culinary experimention to find acceptable dairy substitutes. A growing array of delicious and functional dairy replacements

Dairy and calcium are practically synonomous, and restricting milk, yogurt, cheese and regular ice cream from your diet can set you up for a calcium deficiency. However, you can get enough of this bone-building mineral with calcium-fortified foods, nondairy food sources and supplements. Common calcium-fortified products include almond milk, soy milk, breakfast cereals and even some fruit juices. Read labels to find the foods and drinks with the most calcium. Nondairy foods that provide calcium include leafy greens, legumes, tofu, some fish and even almonds. Talk to your doctor about proper supplementation for you and your family.