For my entire life, I have considered myself as an incessant lactose intolerant. Despite my tender abdomen and constant stomach aches, I continued to eat dairy products daily even though I know they cause me pain. I just loved anything and everything that’s made with it! Pizza, macaroni and cheese, fettuccine alfredo, ice cream, nachos – you name it. I mean, how could you go about your life without eating these delicacies? I thought that the amazing tastes were unquestionably worth my suffering…until I entered my first year of college and started to question if that was honestly true. Which, in return, jump started my dairy-free journey. 

Honestly, I am incredibly fortunate to begin a leap like this during a time where there is a vast variety of substitutions that taste extremely familiar, if not better than real dairy products. Although, don’t get me wrong, there are still some pretty nasty things out there too. 

Nevertheless, after taste testing a large amount of different brands for a few months I can assuredly say that I’ve built a solid go-to grocery list. And over time I will hopefully add some more delicious finds to my cart, but for now, here are my top finds!


I am a huge veggies and dip person when I’m looking for a small snack to keep me satisfied until dinner. So when I could no longer pair my cucumbers, carrots and celery with Hidden Valley ranch (due to the buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt), I was devastated. But thankfully, Kite Hill has an amazing alternative almond milk ranch dip! The texture and taste is just as good and works in perfect harmony with not only a large selection of vegetables but potato chips too if you’re craving something more “junky”. 

Another staple snack I would eat is cheese and crackers. Which obviously, is now and no-no. However, my mom introduced me to “Go Veggie” cheese, specifically their american flavor, which I absolutely love to use on my original Ritz crackers. But, I found that it’s also great on sandwiches as well. Another alternative I use most of the time is Kite Hill’s provolone cheese which has a bit of a thicker, harder texture, but the taste is definitely there. In my opinion, it’s best on a hot sandwich when it’s melted a little bit.

Lastly, I have loved Cheetos for my whole life and would proudly eat an entire family size bag if no one was there to stop me. As an alternative I have found that the white cheddar Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs are crunchy and “cheesy” enough to trick my brain into thinking I get to indulge in a regular brand. It might not be the same, but at least I know I am still able to somewhat indulge in a taste that is similar and healthier. 


A strong trait I get from my grandma is a need for a little “something sweet” after my dinners. And because I can’t really make my own desserts in a dorm and the dining hall doesn’t provide a lot of dairy free dessert options, I have found my quick fix at most supermarkets. My recent hyperfixation has been Zen almond milk chocolate pudding, which actually tastes even better than Jello pudding in my opinion. It’s low calorie and one serving each so you don’t overeat. It’s the perfect late night snack!

Another product I was so distraught over losing was ice cream. I couldn’t even fathom not having this in my life anymore. But thankfully, there are so many tasty options that it actually blows my mind. For the past few weeks I have lived on Oatly or So Delicious ice cream, as they are both so incredible. These products are made with either oat, cashew, coconut or almond milk. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s better for my body. It’s a must try for those who don’t even have a dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant!

As for candy, I can no longer have a lot of the usual treats that are at most stores. However, Justin’s mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups are very similar to Reese’s so I’ll have one piece during the night to get a simple, small taste of chocolate.

Overall, I’m super proud of my finds and I’m excited to continue this journey. It’s definitely been an interesting learning experience, but I love the feeling of being healthier and happier! If you’re like me, I totally recommend taking the leap – it’s not as scary or sad as you think. But if you don’t have any dairy sensitivity, keep enjoying your usual diet.


About The Author

-- Senior I Executive Editor I English Creative Writing & Digital Journalism --

Brooke is a senior English Creative Writing and Digital Journalism major, with minors in Film, Television & Media and Editing & Publishing. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting after graduation.

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