Shopping for a family with multiple food sensitivities can be complicated. Here?s how to do it.
Unfortunately for many of us with celiac or gluten intolerance, having additional food sensitivities and restrictions is not uncommon. Navigating the gluten-free diet while also avoiding one or more additional foods can be really challenging. Whether you?re trying to keep yourself healthy – or figuring out what to feed newly diagnosed kiddos – this can feel overwhelming.
You may even be left wondering if you?ll have to make every bit of food from scratch to protect yourself and your loved ones. While this adjustment can require a process of experimentation and research, I promise that you will soon find your new normal and products that you enjoy.
Some of the most common foods that need to be avoided are dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. While everyone?s body and needs are unique, in this upcoming series, Shopping for Multiple Food Intolerances, I?ll try to cover some of the more common intolerances and some great products to try if you need to be gluten-free and free of one of the items listed above. In this issue, we?ll focus on being gluten and dairy-free.
Gluten and dairy-Free
In my experience, dairy can be really difficult for some people to give up. Sometimes it?s hard because of old habits, familiar recipes, or family traditions. And sometimes, it?s hard just because cheese and ice cream are pretty irresistible! If you do need to give up dairy for health reasons though, feeling balanced and healthy trumps queso any day in my book. If you keep an open mind and are willing to try out a few alternative products, you might just find that the switch isn?t that difficult after all.
While there is nothing that can 100% take the place of the gooey goodness of melted cheese, I have to say I?m pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dairy-free products that are emerging now. If you?re looking for shredded cheese to top a pizza, nachos, or fill a lasagna, Daiya, Lisanatti, and Vegan Gourmet Shreds are three great brands. They actually stretch, melt and bubble like real cheese, are gluten and dairy-free and offer flavors like mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack. spread or a hard aged cheese, I am obsessed with Treeline?s tree nut cheeses. Served with gluten-free crackers or a toasted gluten-free bread, you?ll be hard pressed to taste a significant difference between these and traditional flavored soft cheeses. I served Scallion Soft Style Cheese at a party last week (where it was devoured) and no one asked a single question about it! Their aged nut cheeses can be grated over gluten-free pasta just like traditional Parmesan. All of their products are gluten-free and an absolute must try. You can find them in a variety of stores nationwide like Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and MoM?s. If you?re looking for a dairy-free ricotta cheese for lasagna or baked ziti, try Kite Hill or Tofutti. Both brands offer a great gluten and dairy-free alternative that is a seamless swap in those types of recipes.
I find cow?s milk to be one of the easiest types of dairy to swap out of the diet. There are so many alternative milks available today – both brands and styles. One of the most common complaints I hear about switching to nut or grain milk is that it seems more watery than cow?s milk. To compensate for that, I recommend coconut milk, which tends to be a bit creamier. I like Pacific and So Delicious? coconut milks. So Delicious also makes flavored coconut milk creamers that are perfect if you?re a coffee drinker.
There are also so many brands of soy, almond and rice milk to choose from. You are sure to find several gluten-free options in your local store, so just choose one that is labeled gluten-free to be safe. Many nut milks contain added sugar, so if you?re using them every day, I?d suggest going with an unsweetened or original flavor. I like Almond Breeze products as they are widely available and all gluten-free.
If you?re a baker, you can easily swap cow?s milk with your favorite nut milk in most recipes.
So Delicious has a line of cultured almond and coconut milk yogurts that come in a variety of flavors and make a great breakfast when topped with gluten-free granola and fruit. Silk also has a line of gluten and dairy-free yogurt with bits of real fruit mixed in for a quick breakfast on the go.
Sour cream and cream cheese
Kite Hill has a new line of dairy-free products available at Whole Foods nationwide. Their plain cream cheese spread is delicious and an easy substitute for the real thing. It can also be used as a substitute for sour cream and used in recipes as a dairy-free alternative. Another great, more widely available brand for gluten and dairy-free sour cream and cream cheeses is Tofutti.
Butter and shortening
If you?re searching for a gluten and dairy-free butter alternative to spread on toast and use for baking, Earth Balance has a terrific line of buttery spreads. They have a rich butter taste and are made using a proprietary blend of natural oils. If you need a dairy-free shortening for baking flakey gluten-free cookies, biscuits and piecrusts, Nutiva offers a dairy-free non-GMO organic shortening that contains healthy coconut oil and 100% less cholesterol than butter.
Ice Cream and Whipped cream
Just because you need to avoid gluten and dairy doesn?t mean you have to miss out on ice cream, thank goodness! So Delicious makes a whole line of gluten and dairy-free frozen treats that are absolutely decadent. They offer a whole line of dairy-free ice creams made with almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk. With flavors like cherry amaretto, gluten-free cookie dough (yes, you read that right), and mint chip, your tummy and taste buds will be happy as can be!
If you want a little whipped topping to finish off your gluten-free, dairy-free sundaes, try the So Delicious CocoWhip or CocoWhip Light. Now all you need is a cherry on top!