I’m a kid in a candy store at Whole Foods, but it’s not my regular grocery store. Unless I’m seeking a specialty item, it’s just more convenient for me to shop at Trader Joe’s or a neighborhood grocery store.
However, as soon as my pediatrician suggested that I eliminate dairy, I headed straight for Whole Foods to stock up on some dairy alternatives. For these kinds of specialty items, you just can’t beat their selection.
Eliminating only dairy seems to have done the trick for my baby girl and I’m really grateful for this because completely eliminating soy is a LOT harder. But since so many mamas have to eliminate soy too, I’ve made this list both dairy- and soy-free.
So, DF/SF mamas, pack a cooler and head to your nearest WF! I’ve done the label reading for you, but note that a handful of these products state that they are produced in a facility that also processes dairy or soy. I find that this is rarely an issue for moms, but proceed with caution if your little one is super sensitive.
Maybe you’re okay passing on milk and cheese altogether while you’re dairy free, but for a dairy lover like me, I’m so happy these products exist!
Califia Farms Better Half
A half and half alternative was priority number one for me! I could probably skip all the cheese and yogurt alternatives if I had to, but I’m not a fan of black coffee. This one is a coconut and almond milk combo that’s only slightly coconut-y. I love that it’s unsweetened just like regular half and half.
Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
Earth Balance has several options for dairy-free butter alternatives. The red one pictured is soy-free as well. I spread it on toast from time to time, although I generally use olive oil to cook with.
Forager Project Cashewgurt
Gotta have my yogurt! It’s tough to find good unsweetened yogurt (dairy-free or not) so I was thrilled to hear about this one from my friend Meat Free Mama. I’m also using it as a sour cream alternative on tacos.
Daiya Cream Cheeze Style Spread
Daiya is one of the most widely available vegan cheese brands. Give their shreds a try if you’re looking to replace grated cheese. I picked this up to use as an alternative to chevre in my Magic Pasta Bake.
Ripple Pea Milk
I don’t drink a lot of milk personally and I’m happy to splash almond milk on my granola, but if you’re a milk lover this comes pretty close to the real deal! Note that infants with a soy sensitivity are sometimes sensitive to pea protein, too, so proceed accordingly.
Follow Your Heart sliced cheese alternative
Another rec from Meat Free Mama. This is good on sandwiches, although I’m also pretty happy with avocado in place of cheese most of the time.
These aren’t dairy alternatives, but conventional versions are very likely to contain dairy or soy in some form.
Dave’s Killer Bread
Oh, bread. All you really need to make bread is flour, salt and yeast but commercially produced bread commonly contains milk and soy derivatives. Luckily, many of the newer sprouted varieties (which I prefer anyway) are milk and soy-free. Dave’s label includes a disclaimer that the facility also processes soy, so check out Angelic Bakehouse if this is an issue for you.
365 Pasta Sauce
Pasta sauce often includes cheese or soybean oil. Many of the high end brands are simply tomatoes, seasonings and olive oil but I can rarely stomach the $8+ price tags. Whole Foods’ 365 line has several DF/SF options (just don’t pick up the Three Cheese variety by mistake!)
Just Mayo, Earth Balance Dressing or Primal Kitchen Mayo
Mayo is generally milk-free, but most widely available brands will contain soybean oil. Most of Just Mayo’s products (the one exception is Awesomesauce, a tarter sauce alternative) as well as the Original and Olive Oil varieties of Earth Balance’s dressing are soy-free (but NOT the organic variety). These options are vegan; Primal Kitchen (below) makes two a DF/SF mayos that include eggs.
Primal Kitchen salad dressing
You will be hard pressed to find a commercial salad dressing that doesn’t use soybean oil unless it’s a specialty brand like Primal Kitchen. I especially love their DF ranch!
Gotham Greens Vegan Pesto
You could make your own dairy-free pesto as this one is a little pricey, but if you’re looking for a super quick meal, pasta with pesto and sautéed veggies is a tasty option.
Definitely a staple in my world! You know what I like most? It’s not that they’re DF/SF or even that they have no added sugar. It’s that they don’t melt or get squished in my diaper bag! I always keep a few with me to stave off the nursing mama hanger. So I was very comforted to learn that all of their products are dairy-free, even the chocolate ones! EDITED TO NOTE: Soy-free mamas, the company states that the bars containing chocolate chips do not contain soy but they have not verified that the products meet a soy-free claim. So proceed with caution, or stick to the other Original Fruit and Nut bars without chocolate chips. For a chocolate craving, the Chocolate Coconut Chew bar contains only cocoa powder.
There’s no way around it, cooking from scratch is the most reliable way to keep dairy and soy out of your diet. But when you need something fast in a pinch, these are good options.
Kite Hill Ravioli
My toddler can really down some ravioli and it’s important to me that we all eat the same food at dinner. So I have this while she’s having a conventional version. I boil mine first and then use the same water to cook hers. Kite Hill also makes yogurt, ricotta and cream cheese alternatives.
Amy’s Rice Mac & Cheeze
Sometimes as a nursing mom, you just need a meal you can grab from the freezer and eat NOW, amiright? While Amy’s makes a lot of dairy-free foods, only a handful are soy-free as well. While this probably won’t fool you if you’re a true cheese lover, it will do in a pinch! Explore the Amy’s website for other options; it’s easy to search according to your dietary restrictions.
365 Vegan Pizza
For when your family just ordered pizza and you want some too! Again, the Daiya cheese probably won’t fool you, but it’s a decent option. Daiya also has their own line of frozen pizzas, but they are gluten-free as well. Nothing wrong with that but since I’m not avoiding gluten I’d rather take my chances with this one.
Because no way am I living without ice cream and chocolate!
So Delicious Frozen Desserts
After I figured out what to put in my half and half, finding an ice cream was my next priority! I was really surprised at how similar this tastes to the real thing. Consider me fooled! Ben & Jerry’s also makes some GREAT dairy-free products, but they’re not soy-free.
Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate
Many dark chocolate bars are dairy-free, but they almost all use soy lecithin as an emulsifier. Enjoy Life uses sunflower lecithin instead!
Equal Exchange Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
For your lactation cookies, of course! This brand also uses sunflower lecithin. Enjoy Life (above) makes a similar chocolate chip product.
Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie
I have to say, this is an interesting product! A DF/SF cookie with protein and fiber? I’ve tried them and they’re definitely the real deal. The one pictured is the large size. If you can find them, the smaller size with 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber is a better snack choice (assuming you’re not a body builder…)
Good Karma Pumpkin Spice Nog
I almost didn’t include this because it’s seasonal and also…is pumpkin spice nog really a thing??? But I wanted to mention Good Karma’s line of DF/SF foods because they are also nut free and probably your best option if you’re facing a nut allergy, too. Good Karma also makes flax milk and flax yogurt, and keep your eyes peeled for their egg nog alternative during the holiday season.
I hope these dairy and soy-free options help you mamas out! Have I missed anything? What’s your favorite dairy or soy-free product?