Dairy-Free Diet While Breastfeeding: Meal Ideas, Tips, & Grocery List

Dairy-Free Diet While Breastfeeding Main Header Image

This post provides a comprehensive overview of going on a dairy-free diet while breastfeeding, including reading food labels, meal ideas, tips, and a sample grocery list. 

Typically a dairy-free diet is recommended for a breastfeeding mother when it’s suspected your baby may have a cow’s milk protein allergy. 

Or maybe it’s a personal choice, something you’re trying because you’ve noticed your baby seems fussy or uncomfortable.

Many moms struggle with figuring out what they can eat, not realizing that milk products are found in SO many foods. 

As challenging as it may seem, a dairy-free diet while breastfeeding doesn’t mean you have to cut out all your favorite meals. They just might need some adjusting!

*This post does contain Amazon affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation if a purchase is made. 

Foods That Contain Dairy

The number of food items that contain milk products is alarming at first. Commonly known items are milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, and cheese. 

Many processed foods, like pancakes, pizza, soups, frozen meals, crackers, and snack foods contain milk products as well. 

What’s even more confusing is that the labels “dairy-free” or “non-dairy” are not regulated by the FDA. What this means is that it’s important to continue to check the ingredients list. However, they are most likely are free of all dairy products – as the FDA does regulate against false information on packaging. 

I will be using the term “dairy-free” in this post, in reference to foods free of all milk products including all of the terms listed below.

Ingredients to Look For on Food Labels

Look for these ingredients when reading food labels. It bears repeating – some of these foods have alternatives which state “dairy-free” but ingredient lists should be reviewed.

  • Butter and Margarine
  • Buttermilk
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Casein
  • Cheese -> all varieties
  • Chocolate 
  • Cream
  • Custard
  • Ghee
  • Ice Cream
  • Lactoglubulin
  • Lactoalbumin
  • Lactulose
  • Lactose
  • The word Milk -> unless specified as soy, almond, or rice milk (or any plant-based milk)
  • The word “whey”

Tips for a Dairy-Free Diet While Breastfeeding

Search for Dairy-Free Product Alternatives

Instead of thinking you can’t eat a lot of the foods you typically do when going dairy free while breastfeeding, try replacing them with alternatives free of milk products. With so many people going dairy-free these days, there are actually many options available at most grocery stores.

Some popular items are: cashew milk yogurt, sour cream, ricotta cheese, and cream cheese. Kite Hill and Follow Your Heart are very popular brands that people find taste really good, too. You can find most of these at grocery stores as well!

Try Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a dairy-free, vegan substitute with a cheese-like flavor. It can be added to soups, pastas, and sauces. Many compare it to parmesan cheese – and there are 5 grams of protein per serving!

If a Product Say It’s “Vegan”, It May Also Be Dairy-Free

Products labeled “vegan” typically contain no animal products, therefore, are typically dairy-free. 

Read Food Labels on Processed and Snack Foods

Snack foods and processed foods is where going dairy-free gets tricky. A lot of products contain milk products, therefore, reading food labels on the package is key. 

This includes hot dogs, deli meats, chips, canned tuna, canned soups, and chewing gum – just to name a few.

Use Google and TikTok for More Recipes and Ideas

Not only can you google “dairy-free” recipes, but vegan or even Whole30 recipes as well. 

TikTok is a social platform with a wealth of information about going dairy-free. There are many who post videos with their favorite dairy-free alternatives, meal ideas, tips, and more!

Check Your Medications and Supplements

Sometimes, lactose is an ingredient used in supplements and medications. Read the ingredient list carefully. 

Confirm It’s Dairy-Free with Waiter or Waitress When Eating Out

Eating out can be a little dicey if you’re dairy free – especially with all of the “sneaky” ingredients that some chefs may not be aware of. However, given the increase in dairy-free diets these days most restaurants should be able to accommodate specific requests. 

Have your waiter or waitress verify if a meal contains any dairy products or additives with the chef to be safe.

Grocery List + Free Printable

Wondering what items you need to get at the grocery store? Download the grocery list below, and make your life a little easier.

Use it as a guide to remember what food items to replace with dairy-free substitutes and alternatives, while checking food labels for other items on your list. 

There is also a blank list to customize your own ideas, or write in your favorite products so you can remember them for your next grocery trip!

Meat and produce are blank, as they usually do not contain dairy – unless they are processed.
dairy free diet breastfeeding grocery list and free printable or download

Dairy-Free Meal Ideas

Dairy-free breastfeeding is just another challenge added to the already present struggles of being a mom. Let’s go over some possible meal ideas that can be customized to your liking based on products you may have found.

 Adjust portion sizes based on you and you family’s needs.

dairy-free meal ideas – breakfast

  • Eggs cooked any way with toast 
  • Peanut butter toast or sandwich
  • Smoothies using rice, soy, or almond milk
  • Oatmeal with berries and nut butter
  • Overnight oats with soy or plant-based milk
  • Vegan pancakes

For recipes, try one of these 48 Dairy-Free Breakfast Ideas.

Dairy Free Meal Ideas – Lunch and Dinner

Pot Roast (Gluten-Free)

cooking pot roast for a recipe for dairy free diet breastfeeding
  •  3 lb. Beef Shoulder Chuck Roast
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 lb. Small Potatoes 
  • 1 lb. Carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 can of peas, drained
  • 1 cup of beef or chicken broth (most are dairy free, but read labels)
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Seasonings of Your Choice

Makes about 4 servings.

Directions

1. Season beef shoulder chuck roast with seasonings. Pour 2 Tbsp. olive oil into a hot pan or Dutch oven, and sear all sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove the chuck roast. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a pan and cook onions for 3-5 minutes. 
2. Add roast back into Dutch oven, on top of onions. Add beef broth, carrots, and potatoes. Cover and cook in oven on 350 for 4 hours.
3. When there’s about 30 minutes of cooking time left, add the canned peas. When finished cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.
*This can be made in a crockpot on high for 2-3 hours, or low for 6 hours. 

Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

  • 1 lb. Chicken Breast
  • 1 lb. Fettucine Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Shallots, diced
  • 1 can Coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour

Makes about 4 servings.

Directions

1. Cook fettucine according to package directions, saving a little pasta water for the sauce.
2. Season chicken breast to your liking. Sear in a hot pan with olive oil on medium heat until temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
3. Remove chicken, and add garlic and shallots to a pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add flour. Cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and nutritional yeast. Incorporate some pasta water to adjust consistency as needed. 
5. Add in pasta and combine. Plate with diced chicken, and a side of veggies.

Chili (Gluten-Free)

a bowl of chili for low calorie high protein meal prep
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cans RO-TEL diced tomatoes with green chilies
  •  1 can of corn, rinsed
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • Avocado, sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup dairy-free shredded cheese (optional).

Makes 4-5 servings.

Directions

1. Add diced onion and ground beef to a pan and cook until beef is no longer pink.
2. Dump the diced tomatoes, corn, and black beans to the pan with the beef and onions.
3. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let it cook for 10-20 minutes. 
4. Top with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, avocado slices, and a sprinkle of cheese. 

Deconstructed Taco Bowl

Two meal prep storage containers with rice, chicken, beans corn and lettuce for dairy-free breastfeeding meal ideas high protein meal prep ideas
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 2 cups of lettuce
  • Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder
  • Jalapenos and salsa for garnish

Super simple and tasty! Makes about 4 servings.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season chicken with spices, and cook for 20-30 minutes.
2. Portion out each bowl with 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/4 cup beans, 1/4 cup corn, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup of lettuce, and garnish with jalapenos and salsa. You could even add some dairy-free cheese for more flavor!

One Pan Chicken Parmesan

  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 2-3 cups of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 jar Rao’s marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free cheese of your choice
  •  Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Makes 4 servings.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season chicken and broccoli with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
2. Place chicken and broccoli on a sheet pan or glass dish and cook for 20-30 minutes, until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. 
3. When cooked, top the chicken with marina sauce and cheese. Place back in the oven for about 5 more minutes. Enjoy! Serve with a side of pasta or rice (optional).

Mediterranean Power Bowl (Vegetarian and Gluten-Free)

  • 1 cup of quinoa, raw
  • 2 cups of cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cans of garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup of hummus
  • 1 cup of olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper or dairy-free dressing of choice

Makes 3-4 servings.

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. Prepare dressing: equal parts oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper.
3. Assemble the bowl with quinoa on the bottom, topped with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, garbanzo beans, walnuts, sliced avocado, and drizzle with dressing. Top with hummus. 

Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Veggies (Gluten-Free)

  •  1 lb. chicken breast
  • 1 lb. red potatoes
  • Vegetable of your choice
  • Starch of your choice (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Makes about 4 servings.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season chicken with spices and olive oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
2. Dice potatoes into cubes and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes (can put on same pan as the chicken).
3. Serve with a side of veggies and starch. Drizzle with Cholula hot sauce for more flavor. 

Lemon Chicken with Orzo

Use this delicious recipe from Taste of Home to make a lemon chicken with orzo. You could even top it with dairy-free parmesan cheese.  

Shrimp Pad-Thai

dairy free diet breastfeeding
  • 16 oz. shrimp, cooked
  • 1/2 package of linguine rice noodles
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced small
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce

Makes about 4 servings

Directions

1. Cook rice noodles according to package directions.
2. In another pan, add olive oil, onion, and green peppers. Cook until softened. Remove from pan.
3. Add the eggs and scramble in the pan until cooked. Then add in the rice noodles, bell pepper, onion, and diced shrimp. Pour the sauce and combine with ingredients. Top with nuts upon serving.

Other Simple Meal Ideas

  • Burgers with side of vegetables. Hamburger buns may have dairy, so check labels.
  • Salmon Rice Bowl.
  • Grilled Chicken Salad – without cheese or with dairy-free alternative.
  • Buffalo Chicken served with Spaghetti Squash, Rice, Pasta or in a Casserole. 
  • Steak and Baked Potato

Adding More High Calcium Foods in Your Diet

Milk and milk products provide many important nutrients to your diet, especially calcium.  Since this is a vital nutrient for healthy bones, teeth, and blood clotting – be mindful of consuming other high calcium foods. 

Examples include tofu, almonds, chia seeds, soy milk, beans, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

The meal possibilities are endless by understanding what you’re looking for, and finding products to replace the common dairy foods you normally consume. The more practice and experience with this diet, the easier it will get! 

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