Dairy-free food products are desired by those who choose a vegan lifestyle and necessary to those who have dairy allergies or sensitivities. In order to be truly dairy free, a food product must not contain lactose, casein, or whey. Some of the most popular dairy-free food products include milk substitutes, margarine, and ice cream. Most packaged cereals are dairy free, as are some types of bread. Additional dairy-free food products include some cake mixes, sour cream, and cookies.
Perhaps the most sought after dairy-free food products are milk substitutes. Soy milk is a popular choice, although it should be noted that approximately half of those with dairy allergies or intolerances also have trouble digesting soy products. Rice milk is another popular alternative and can be found in many grocery stores. Coconut milk and almond milk are often preferred by children due to the rich flavor and can be used in baking or added to breakfast cereal. These milk alternatives can also be used in most traditional recipes to create a dairy-free version of a person's favorite foods.
Some brands of margarine are dairy free, but it is important to check the labels before use to be certain. Available primarily at health food stores, dairy-free food products such as cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheese are popular choices as well. The cream cheese and sour cream alternatives have a slightly different texture than their traditional counterparts, but many people enjoy the flavor and the variety these products add to the diet. Dairy-free cheese is more difficult to duplicate and does not tend to melt as easily as regular cheese, and most people have to try several different brands before choosing an acceptable alternative.
Ice cream can be made without the use of dairy products. Commercial ice cream alternatives may be made with either soy milk or coconut milk and are available in a variety of flavors. Fruit sorbets may also be used in the place of ice cream and are often a healthy way to sneak fruits into a child's diet.
Most packaged cereals do not contain milk products, although it is always wise to check the labels just in case. The majority of sandwich bread does contain milk, although a few brands are dairy free. Cake mixes, frosting, and cookies that do not contain dairy products can be found with a little diligence. While most pasta does not contain dairy, many sauces do include milk products, so it is important to check labels carefully.