There is no need to be deprived of your favourite foods, just because you`ve gone dairy-free! 

Whether you have decided to go dairy-free for health reasons, nutritional concerns or ethical reasons, it can seem like a challenge at first – so many dishes in many cultures rely on dairy, and so many store-bought foods contain any number of dairy products. But, not to fear-it actually can be easier than you think, and, as a result, you`ll end up cooking and trying so many dishes that you may have never even thought of before! 

Here are some suggestions that can be helpful when making the change to a dairy-free diet: 
 
1.Learn what dairy-derived ingredients to look for when reading labels. 

Reading labels can be frustrating as there are so many foods that contain hidden dairy products. When people who are new to the dairy-free diet ask me for "tricks" when reading labels, I usually suggest that they look for products labelled "vegan," "dairy-free" or "pareve" as these will contain no dairy ingredients, whereas products labelled "non-dairy" often still contain milk proteins or other dairy-derived ingredients. 
 
2.Stock your pantry with dairy-free ingredient staples. 

Find a local grocer or market near you, or an online distributor that carries the products you like, and keep a small store on hand, so you`ll always have plenty of lactose-free options for you and your family. 
 
3.Find dairy-free substitutions for dairy products you use frequently in cooking and baking recipes. 

Whether you`re someone who prefers to make all of your dairy-free substitutions yourself or you`d rather find prepared dairy-free substitutes that you can purchase at your local store, keep the same amount on hand that you would if it were the dairy product that it`s replacing. 
 
4.Try some new recipes! 

We humans are stubborn when it comes to changing things as routine as diet, but changing over to a new way of eating is a great way to explore new tastes and flavours that you might not have otherwise. So try different ethnic foods or new cooking methods, and you`ll probably end up realizing that you`ve widened your options instead of reducing them! 
 
5. Find a few "easy" dairy-free meals and snack solutions, and make these readily available. 

Especially if you`re cooking for a dairy-free child, keeping quick and simple recipes and snacks available is important in not only eating well but also maintaining a positive relationship with food. Keeping quick meal and snack options that you enjoy on hand is an easy way to avoid feeling "deprived" of foods you love. 
 
 
Information sourced from about.com 

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