If you’re living with a milk sensitivity or just choose not to eat milk products for personal reasons, it can be challenging to go dairy free at meal times. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to live without lactose.
The main concern with dairy free eaters is getting enough calcium. But in fact, the Harvard School For Public Health says that dairy may not be the best source for calcium. Some dairy products are bogged down with saturated fat, which has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, some dairy contains high amounts of retinol, which can actually weaken bones. When it comes to getting your daily calcium needs, there plenty of great ways to do so without relying on dairy:
- Greens: Depending on the bitterness of the kale, either serve in a salad or sauté lightly. Collard greens are usually boiled. Some varieties of kale will be good raw. A cup of boiled collard greens has 357 mg of calcium, while a cup of cooke kale has 154 mg.
- Baked Beans: Baked beans are a comforting, simple side that are great at a barbecue or in baked bean salads. 1 cup of canned baked beans has 154 mg calcium.
- Orange: Unpeel and section an orange and use as a sweet topping for a dinner salad. One navel orange has 56 mg.
- Tofu: If you avoid all animal products, you likely already use tofu and other soy products. Tofu soaks up the flavor of whatever it is cooked with, making it a versatile choice in stir fry, salad, soup, or simply marinated and baked as a main dish. ½ cup tofu has 258 mg of calcium.
- Milk Replacements: If you are lactose intolerant and you don’t want to give up serving your dinner with milk, there is a plethora of milk replacements to choose from: rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk are all great choices. And if you happen to prefer almond milk vs soy milk, there are also almond cheeses.
Like with any dietary restriction or special diet meal plan, eating dairy free can be a fun challenge. Experiment with ways to eat well and meet your calcium requirements.
- “The Nutrition Source: Calcium and Milk”, The Harvard School of Public Health
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