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Some people would die before letting you take away their cheese.
Unfortunately, opting for dairy-free snacks is not much of a choice for folks with dairy intolerances and allergies.
Those with food allergies know this is easier said than done.
From visiting family around the holidays and stopping at a gas station for a quick road trip snack to spontaneously grabbing a bite to eat with friends, maintaining a dairy-free diet can be anxiety-inducing.
You can explain your allergy 100 times, and even your most well-intentioned servers, friends, and family can forget or not check the ingredients list before handing you your meal or a snack.
When this happens, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and make your own dairy-free snacks to bring with you! Luckily, making a healthy snack without dairy is relatively easy.
So, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 18 dairy-free snack ideas for you to try regardless of your dietary preferences or health needs.
Read Before Snacking!
As with any allergy, checking all the ingredients listed on a product before consuming them is imperative—every time.
While some products listed here may be safe today, manufacturers can change their ingredients anytime without labeling the product as a new formula or recipe.
There are also some products you wouldn’t expect to contain dairy, but have additives derived from dairy, which may cause a reaction in those with more severe allergies.
These foods include chewing gum, breadcrumbs, chips and crackers, and processed meats. Additionally, lactose-free products are not safe for people with dairy allergies.
Gluten and Dairy-Free Snacks
If you’re the lucky winner of both dairy and gluten intolerances or allergies, we feel for you.
Worry not, though, because we’ve got some excellent gluten- and dairy-free snacks to try.
Where did chickpeas get the audacity to be so darn good? Not only are they high in plant-based protein, but they’re packed with fiber and many vital nutrients that keep our bodies happy and healthy.
While chickpeas are usually made into hummus or added to filling salads, you can also roast them to make the perfect dairy-free snack.
Just drain a can of chickpeas (or save the aquafaba for use in other recipes), spread them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and your favorite spice blend—we recommend curry powder or smoked paprika—and then bake them at 425ºF for about 20 to 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
Homemade granola bars
While it’s definitely easier to just grab some granola bars at the grocery store, you can’t always count on them being gluten- and dairy-free.
This is why it’s so much easier, safer, and cheaper to make them at home, and once you do, you’ll never go back to store-bought brands.
All you need are some gluten-free oats (make sure the label says they’re gluten-free), your favorite nut butter for some healthy fats; dried fruits, nuts, or other mix-ins of your choice; some coconut oil; and either honey or maple syrup.
These are great to make in large batches and will last up to three months if stored in the freezer.
You might be surprised to see deviled eggs on this dairy-free snack list since most recipes recommend using mayonnaise.
However, despite mayo’s creamy look, feel, and taste, this ingredient is dairy-free since its main components are eggs and oil.
This makes deviled eggs a great gluten and dairy-free snack you can easily make at home for the next family get-together.
High-Protein Dairy-Free Snacks
Unfortunately for those with dairy allergies who also have protein goals, the most popular protein powders and bars on the market also contain whey and casein—some of the primary ingredients that cause dairy allergies.
That said, it is still possible to hit your protein goals even without consuming these products.
Here are a few high-protein, dairy-free snack ideas.
Vegan Protein Powders
While not a snack per se, protein powder is used in many of those yummy-looking high-protein snack recipes you’ll find on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
With vegan protein powders, you can easily swap them for whey protein powders as a dairy-free alternative.
So, even if you’re not a fan of protein shakes, it’s a great ingredient to keep around the house.
Tuna Snack Packs with Bagel Crackers
Getting enough healthy protein into your diet is essential—especially if you’re working out frequently—but sometimes you may not have time to meal prep.
In addition to being an easy snack, this tuna product is sustainably sourced using methods that reduce bycatch, and they only use fish that have less than 0.15 parts per million of mercury (that’s ten times lower than the FDA limits).
This makes it not only a tasty and nutritious snack but a sustainable one, too!
Edamame beans are a high-protein powerhouse; 100g contains a whopping 11g of protein.
Not only that, but they’re naturally dairy-free, packed with fiber, and are a nutritious snack you can eat anytime, anywhere.
Because these are high in fiber and protein, you may find these to be a more filling snack, keeping hunger at bay for longer.
Vegan and Dairy-Free Snacks
This might seem like a “duh” moment since all vegan snacks are naturally dairy-free. But not all dairy-free snacks are vegan! So, here are a few of our favorite vegan and dairy-free snack ideas.
Hummus with Fresh Vegetables
Hummus is easily one of the best savory snacks of all time, not just for vegans but anyone who enjoys healthy, delicious, and nutritious food.
While it’s great with various veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli, it can also be used as a spread on sandwiches, a side dip for charcuterie boards, and even tastes great mixed in with mashed potatoes.
Since it’s made with chickpeas, it’s also got tons of great plant-based protein.
Peanut Butter and Bananas on Vegan Toast
If you ever had your parent pack one of these in your lunchbox as a kid, this will bring back some memories.
Best of all, you can use your favorite nut butter (not just peanut butter), and if you like things a bit sweeter, add some agave or maple syrup.
If you’re feeling peckish between meals, this is a great way to add healthy fats and plant-based protein to your diet.
Bada Bean Bada Boom Fava Bean Snacks
If you’re on the hunt for an easy snack you can eat on the go that’s both vegan and dairy-free, you’ll want to try these fava bean snack packs from Bada Bean Bada Boom.
Not only are these vegan and dairy-free, but they’re also gluten free and kosher!
Each single serving pack also has six grams of protein and is relatively low calorie, making these a great little dairy-free snack on the road or between meals.
Dairy-Free Snacks for Kids
Keeping kiddos safe while surrounded by all the yummy dairy-filled snacks out there can be nerve-wracking.
On the other hand, we’re confident the other kids will be begging for a bite of these dairy-free snacks you’ll be packing in their lunch box.
Dairy-Free Brownie Bites
Chocolate treats can be especially tough to avoid for dairy-free kiddos.
Or buy some pre-made dairy-free Double Chocolate Brownies from Nature’s Bakery.
Blueberry and Dairy-Free Yogurt Popsicles
You may not be able to pack this frozen treat in your kids’ lunch boxes, but these are great snacks at home or when their friends come over to visit.
All you need are some popsicle molds, fresh or frozen blueberries, a sweetener, and your kid’s favorite dairy-free yogurt (we recommend coconut yogurt for a tropical flare) and milk.
If you don’t mind making a little mess, you can even make it a fun activity with the kids.
Dressed Up Fruits and Veggies
There’s nothing better for growing kiddos than fresh fruit and vegetables.
But let’s be honest, they can be a bit boring on their own.
So, let’s make fruits and veggies a bit more fun by making them into fun shapes with small vegetable and fruit cutters.
Add a few sauce containers with their favorite dairy-free dip, like nut butter or this vegan ranch dressing.
Some might say dessert isn’t a snack. We beg to disagree.
When that sweet tooth hits, you know you need to satisfy that craving, whether at 10 in the morning or well past midnight.
So here are a few dairy-free snacks that are easy to grab in a pinch.
Hold The Dairy! Mini Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Cones Salted Caramel
Trader Joe’s strikes again with another dairy-free yummy snack.
These mini ice cream cones, made with coconut milk and vegan dairy-free chocolate, are overflowing with flavor that can satisfy any sweet tooth.
From the chocolate topping to the crunchy wafer, we’re sure you’ll enjoy every bite.
Talenti Dairy-free Flavors
The Talenti brand is mainly known for its mouthwateringly delicious gelato.
But did you know they have a whole line of dairy-free flavors?
They not only have tasty-sounding mango and raspberry flavors, but you can also choose from chocolate fudge brownie, cold brew coffee, or caramel toffee crunch.
They also have gluten-free and egg-free options, too.
Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Banana Slices
These are super simple frozen treats you can make ahead of time, so you’re never left without a midnight snack.
These are also a healthy alternative to store-bought snacks since there is no added sugar, and you can customize them to your liking with dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, or even pretzels for an extra crunch.
High-Calorie Dairy-Free Snacks for Endurance Athletes
When doing endurance sports like long-distance running, biking, or hiking for days or weeks in the backcountry, your body may burn thousands of calories daily.
To keep your body healthy and functioning and remain at optimal performance, you have to fuel it with enough calories.
But when you have dietary restrictions, you have to be a bit more mindful about where you get those calories from.
Here are some dairy-free options that should help you fulfill your calorie needs the next time you head out.
Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal is a staple for thru-hikers who need quick and easy breakfasts before a big day of hiking.
But is it dairy-free? Yes! The oatmeal flavors in their variety pack—Maple & Brown Sugar, Cinnamon & Spice, and Apples & Cinnamon—are dairy-free.
Each pack has just 160 calories, but you could double up on packs (maybe experimenting with two different flavors) and add in a tube of some of your favorite nut butter, like Justin’s Almond Butter, which has 220 calories per serving.
This will keep you fuller for longer and fueled for your hike in the great outdoors.
Though Clif Bars are usually the go-to for endurance athletes and hikers who need to eat on the go, they are made in a facility that also processes dairy products.
On the other hand, Larabars are labeled as dairy-free—as well as gluten-free and vegan—and are made with minimal ingredients. In fact, the number of ingredients used in each bar is stated right on the front of the packaging!
At 230 calories, this is a great dairy-free snack you can eat during your favorite activities.
They’re called energy balls for a reason!
These little treats can pack a calorie punch while being a delicious and healthy snack you can easily make at home and eat on the go.
All you need are rolled oats, nut butter, maple syrup, and a dairy-free protein powder.
Add shredded coconut, dairy-free chocolate chips, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or even roll them in some cinnamon sugar to make them extra tasty.
The beauty of energy balls is that you can make them exactly to your liking.
Dairy-free snacks FAQ’s
What is the difference between dairy-free versus lactose-free?
It’s important to know there is a difference between foods considered “lactose-free” versus “dairy-free” when you or someone you know is following a dairy-free diet.
Lactose-free products are made by adding lactase to the milk, an enzyme that breaks down lactose but leaves behind the milk proteins whey and casein, which people with milk allergies are sensitive to.
On the other hand, dairy-free foods have no dairy in them.
This is vital to know if you are cooking snacks for someone with dairy allergies. They cannot consume anything with dairy, dairy products, or dairy additives.
Generally, the same can be said for those who are lactose intolerant, but this depends on the severity of their intolerance.
It’s always best to ask the person you’re cooking for if you’re unsure.
What popular foods are dairy-free?
Tons of foods are surprisingly dairy-free.
While these aren’t exactly nutritious, there’s always room for a guilty pleasure once in a while!
If you’re going on a camping trip soon, you’ll be happy to hear that Honey Maid Graham Crackers, (most) dark chocolate bars, and marshmallows are dairy-free.
The popular grocery store brownie mix from Duncan Hines (Dark Chocolate Fudge) is also dairy-free.
Pair some of these with a tall glass of oat or almond milk mixed with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, and you’ll be in dairy-free chocolate heaven.
What unexpected foods have dairy in them?
When adhering to a dairy-free diet, it’s essential to know that some foods you might consider dairy-free may have some dairy products in the form of additives.
Processed meats are a big one you’ll need to avoid or be vigilant in checking ingredients.
If you want to be sure they’re dairy-free, look for kosher products that are required to be free of dairy products and additives.
Though margarine is supposed to be a non-dairy alternative to butter, many products use lactose to give it a creamy texture.
Caramel candies and caramel flavoring also contain dairy, so avoid foods that list these as ingredients or are mainly made of caramel.
Most store-bought breads, along with certain flavored chips, are also unsafe to
consume if you have dairy allergies.
What are some popular dairy-free alternatives?
Thanks to the rising popularity of alternative diets in the past few decades, there are tons of dairy-free alternatives for milk, cheese, and yogurt.
There are endless kinds of milk, including nut milks like cashew, almond, macadamia, oat, soy, rice, and even sesame.
Popular brands like Chobani, Yoplait, So Delicious, and Silk all make dairy-free yogurts, but smaller brands like Siggi’s that are higher in protein are also found in many supermarkets.
When it comes to dairy-free cheeses, Kite Hill and Miyokos are two of the most popular brands that have multiple products that do a great job of mimicking the real thing.
Nutritional yeast — also known as “nooch” — is another great way to add a cheesy taste to snacks like popcorn, roasted chickpeas, and even nachos. Not only is it flavorful, but it also adds a bit of protein to your snacks.