Eating out with kids on a dairy-free diet

Eating out with kids on a dairy-free diet is no mean feat. Which means, it’s impossible sometimes. In my family, 50% of us are dairy free. That’s a large percentage. One of my kids has been officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant and the other is pending. They make up the 15% of the UK population who are unable to digest certain sugars in cow’s milk. 15% of the population is roughly 9.2757 million people. That’s a lot of people who require either lactose-free or dairy-free food. If you tried to squeeze all of those people into Wembley Stadium, there would be 9.1857 million people left outside, baying for a pot of soya ice-cream.

I suppose you know what I’m getting at by now. Practically NOWHERE caters for a dairy-free diet!

The baby has been dairy-free since we started weaning him and so he knows no different. The big one, however, knows all about ice-cream chocolate, macaroni cheese and pizza. At home, we make dairy-free versions of these. When we’re out, there are no alternatives. Sure, some supermarkets reserve a small shelf for the unfortunates, with over-priced, foul tasting chocolate buttons and equally as over priced but considerably more edible puddings. Latcose-free cheese is 100% more tasty than dairy-free versions but still has a slightly strange texture to someone who used to love a good cheddar. Put it this way, there is a real gap in the market in my opinion.

At the seaside, we are assaulted by signs screaming ice-cream! Chocolate! Pizza! Fine, my daughter is no savage and she can say no to these things. But why should she? Why isn’t there more choice out there? If it were me, I would be going CRAZY!!

And why is dairy-free stuff so expensive? Dairy-free ice-cream is £3 for a really small pot- not good for the weekly shop at the end of the month. And why do soya yogurts taste so chalky? Lactose-free versions are much better but again, the price tag puts me off.

So I need help, people. Given that there are around 9.2757 people who are also following a lactose-free diet, I’m guessing that at least one or two of you are parent bloggers, or at least are going to read this post. So where do you go to buy your stuff? Where do you get your bargains? What are your delicious must-haves? What recipes do you swear by? Where do you eat out? How do I console my six year old who is seriously craving some dairy?

Any tips, ideas and advice would be seriously welcome!

*I’m submitting this post to the wonderful Bod for Tea’s Fussy Eater’s support club linky. Please come over to read the other posts and add your own if you are having feeding nightmares!!

**There is still time to vote for me as most inspiring blogger in the MADs blog awards!




10 responses to “Eating out with kids on a dairy-free diet

  • Chloe

    My son has a dairy allergy and as I am breastfeeding, we are both dairy free. So, I’ll be watching this to see if anyone has any tips for cheap alternatives – dairy free is stretching our shopping budget.

    Not cheap, but Moo Free chocolate is the best tasting non dairy chocolate I’ve found so far. I’m also surviving on bourbon biscuits for my chocolate fix (most brands don’t contain milk).

    Choices when eating out are very slim, especially as we are also unable to eat soya. Desserts are a nightmare, sorbet seems to about the only option.

    • ghostwritermummy

      Yes I know it well. I was dairy free whilst breastfeeding the baby and it was a nightmare! We were out on Friday and the restaurant had run out of sorbet so sent icecream instead. I had to tell my daughter no and its really awful doing it. Will keep you posted with any tips etc that I find

      • Chloe

        Given the percentage of dairy free people in the UK, you would think that more restaurants would list the dairy free options as they do for vegetarian meals.

  • Midlife Singlemum

    This is not very helpful I know but if you ever holiday in Israel (or parts of North West London) all the restaurants are either meat serving or dairy, but not both. This is because the Kosher laws don’t allow the mixing of meat and milk. If you want Gluten free however, you’re in trouble.

  • Hannah

    Hi! As you know I’m another one breastfeeding on a dairy and soya free diet. Didn’t know about moo free choc, where do you get it from? Most ginger nuts are free from dairy and soya, also Tesco’s own granola bars. Only take out I can think to eat is sausage and chips! Haven’t had sorbet, Yum! Tesco’s own bakers soft bread is okay too from what I can see.

    Perhaps try making some deserts…rice milk, blended banana etc frozen in lollipops. Apparently some nesquick is okay too but I haven’t checked.

    You could also make your own fairy cakes, biscuits etc. X

  • Bod for tea

    Food intolerances are very badly catered for in the UK. Here in China soya milk is a staple so you can find it in a lot of places. Luckily don’t have any food allergies or intolerances in our house (yet). I’m sure it’s not practical to carry your own food around with you all the time either. I wondered whether vegetarian restaurants would be more likely to have suitable alternatives?

    And thanks for linking up to the Fussy Eaters Support Club btw 😀

  • Kate Takes 5

    No ideas for eating out but I have a book I’d recommend. Will dig it out and let you know.

  • Isil

    Check out the Uncheese Cookbook and books of Dreena Burton.Booja Booja makes lovely icecreams and chocolates,pricey but can be good for special days. Tofutti is my fav vegan cream cheese.Hope these help.

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