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This information is designed to give you advice on how to improve your child’s nutritional adequacy while they are following a milk-free diet, as well as giving ideas for increasing the energy and protein content of foods. Due to your child’s allergy or intolerance to milk and dairy products you will need to exclude a variety of foods that are naturally high in energy and protein. However, there are still plenty of foods that you can use to ensure a good intake of these nutrients.
High energy, high protein, milk-free foods
Meat and Alternatives
All types of meat and fish are good sources of energy and protein.
Many children enjoy minced meat, meatballs, dairy free sausages, bacon, chicken and dairy-free fish fingers or chicken nuggets.
Choose tinned fish in oil instead of brine.
Eggs are high in protein and energy.
Try adding beans and lentils to cooked dishes.
Leave the skin on chicken and poultry as this will increase the energy content.
Dairy-free infant formula.
Dairy-free ‘milks’ such as soya milk, oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk and coconut milk (ensure it is fortified with calcium) can be used as a cow’s milk substitute. Try and choose the highest calorie and protein options possible per 100ml for example sweetened soya milk as some plant milks can be very low in calories.
Soya yogurts are an excellent snack food.
Dairy-free cheeses, margarines and soya spreads are available in most supermarkets and health food shops.
You should ensure that any dairy free alternatives are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals including calcium.
How to fortify foods
Sometimes children find it difficult to eat large quantities of food. Therefore it can be helpful to fortify their foods to ensure they are receiving adequate energy and protein.
ADD dairy-free margarine or soya spread to sauces, mashed potato, baked potato or vegetables.
ADD dried fruit, soya yogurt, jam, honey* to breakfast cereals or milk free puddings.
ADD plenty of vegetable oil when cooking or add to mashed potatoes, vegetables, scrambled eggs.
ADD dairy free mayonnaise to sandwiches.
ADD coconut cream to desserts.
ADD nut butters/ground nuts to cereals/on toast etc.
Offering your child a nourishing drink is another useful way to maximise their energy and protein intake. However, try to give drinks after meals, to avoid making your child feel full up.
Hot drinks made with soya or oat milk e.g. cocoa powder instead of hot chocolate powder.
Milkshakes made with dairy-free ‘milk’ and/or soya yogurt and/or dairy-free ice cream.
Smoothies made with soya yogurt, soya cream and fruit.
*Honey should not be given to children under 1 year
High energy and protein meals and snack ideas
Cereal with soya or oat milk, honey, soya yogurt.
Dairy-free bread or toast with non-dairy margarine or soya spread, jam, marmalade, egg.
Eggs –scrambled, boiled or poached with extra cooking oil.
Bacon with baked beans.
Baked beans on dairy-free toast with dairy-free margarine.
Sandwiches with meat filling, egg or fish in oil or avocado.
Omelettes with meat and vegetable filling.
Toasties with ham and dairy-free cheese, baked beans, chicken.
Pasta with tuna tinned in oil and vegetables.
Soup with grated dairy free cheese or dairy free cream.
Jelly and fruit, dairy free yogurt, dairy free ice cream, dairy free desserts.
Custard made with oat/soya milk and custard powder (not instant).
Fried chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Meat or vegetable curry with rice or naan bread.
Stew with extra meat, vegetables, potatoes, beans or pulses.
Chicken nuggets or turkey shapes with chips and vegetables (**Check the label to ensure they are dairy-free).
Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread (use dairy-free margarine to make the garlic bread).
Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie with chips and beans.
Pasta with tomato sauce fortified with extra oil or dairy-free spread.
Jacket potato with filling e.g. tuna in oil and dairy free mayonnaise, dairy free cheese, baked beans.
Snack / Finger Foods
Breadsticks dipped in hummus**.
Strips of toast with dairy-free spread, honey, jam, hummus**, avocado, nut butters.
Chunks of fruit including avocado.
Dairy free fish fingers.
Miniature sandwiches made with dairy-free spread.
Dried fruit e.g. dried apricots, sultanas.
Cold or cooked meats.
Dairy-free custard made with custard powder and soya or oat milk.
Dairy-free chocolate lollies/buttons.
(**Check the label of hummus, as some will contain milk)
Always incorporate fruit and vegetables on a regular basis. These are important for vitamins and minerals, despite being lower in energy. They can also be added to a higher energy/protein food e.g. fruit and soya yogurt, fruit and jelly, strawberries and honey. Always look after your child’s teeth, especially when eating sugary snacks and drinks. To keep your teeth healthy, try to keep sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes and brush at least twice a day.