Being diagnosed with a dairy allergy (also known as cow's milk allergy) and having to avoid your favorite foods can feel overwhelming and sometimes pretty sad. It's hard to imagine meals and snacks without milk, butter, cheese and ice cream when those foods are staples in your diet.
In addition to being tasty foods, milk products are a good source of important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein, to name a few. Children with this allergy are particularly at risk for nutrient deficiencies as foods such as cheese sticks, yogurt, pudding, and flavored milk are good sources of these nutrients and are usually well-accepted.
Even though eliminating these foods from your diet can create some nutrition gaps, it is not impossible to get adequate nutrition without cow's milk and foods containing it. It might just take some extra planning and effort.
You can also enlist the help of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who can help you make sure you're getting the nutrition you need despite dietary restrictions.
When we had to start avoiding dairy, it really changed the way we ate. Many of the foods we ate on a regular basis had milk derived ingredients but could be made without those ingredients using dairy substitutes.
If you have just started avoiding dairy products, you will be able to do the same. Like eating with any food allergy, it just takes an open mind and some creativity.
Learn more here...
To learn more about food labeling laws, go to the Common Food Allergies page. Here are some terms to watch for on food label ingredient lists:
- Artificial butter flavor, butter oil, butter fat
- Buttermilk solids
- Casein (all forms)
- Caseinate (all forms)
- Cheese flavor
- Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
- Lactalbumin (all forms), lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, lactulose
- Milk solids
- Recaldent™, used in tooth-whitening chewing gums
- Whey/whey solids
- Beverages including milk, buttermilk, hot chocolate, "non-dairy" creamers
- Baked goods including baking mixes and frosting
- Spreads including butter and many margarine varieties (even some that say "non-dairy" on the label)
- Boxed dinners/foods such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, puddings, gravies, vegetables in cream, cheese or butter sauces, canned pasta meals
- Prepared meats including hot dogs and lunch meats
- Salad dressings often have cheese or other sources of dairy in them
- Yogurt (including frozen)
- Frozen desserts such as ice cream, sherbet and sometimes sorbet
- Whipped topping
- Many types of chocolate (cocoa powder is dairy free)