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Many people have allergies to dairy, or are sensitive to it, and choose to follow a diet that is dairy-free. A number of meals can be prepared with ingredients that are not derived from milk products. Dairy-free dinners can be made with grilled or baked proteins, such as chicken, pork, or beef, as well as fresh, steamed vegetables. There are a variety of traditional recipes that have been modified to include dairy-free ingredients. When purchasing food, the ingredients of any packaged product should be checked carefully for any hidden dairy products, so that a non-dairy alternative can be sought if necessary.
A dairy-free diet can be very nutritious. Many such plans consist mainly of fresh, whole foods. Meats can easily be prepared without the use of any dairy products. Since it is typically the main ingredient of many dinners, dairy-free dinners can be made by grilling, baking, or roasting the chosen protein. For extra flavor, chicken, beef, or pork can be marinated, or spices and herbs can be used to season it.
Just as in traditional meals vegetables are commonly served as part of dairy-free dinners. Steamed vegetables can be seasoned with a number of different types of seasonings and herbs. Dairy-free sauces, such as a vinaigrette, can be poured on vegetables to give them more flavor. Vegetables may also be baked, grilled, or roasted, without the need for any type of dairy products.
Many dairy items, like milk, cream, or butter, have dairy-free alternatives which can be purchased at a supermarket. Soy is used in many non-dairy ingredients, and many people enjoy the taste and texture of such products. Unflavored non-dairy milks — like soy, almond, or rice milk — can be used in most recipes as a substitute for cow's milk. Other common dairy products, like sour cream and cheese, also have alternatives, which can be used when preparing non-dairy meals.
Salads can also be served as a part of dairy-free dinners. These can become an entree with the addition of protein, or may be served as the first course of a meal. Breads that are made without dairy products, such as French or Italian varieties, can be eaten when a person is on a dairy-free diet. Other acceptable starchy side dishes include rice or pasta.
When preparing a dairy-free meal at home, the ingredients of any packaged food should be examined. Many commercial foods may seem dairy-free but may actually contain hidden milk products. Naturally, such items should be avoided when preparing dairy-free dinners. Ingredients like casein and whey are actually dairy products, but many people may not realize it. A careful inspection of a nutritional label can prevent the accidental use of a product that contains dairy.