Adding more plants to your plate is always a good idea. The good news is, adopting a plant-based diet doesn’t involve giving up meat altogether, unless of course that’s your goal.
The “plant-forward” movement making headlines over the past several years, challenges us to prioritize Mother Nature’s bounty of vegetables, fruits, greens, nuts, and seeds.
But when it comes to dairy, how exactly can you go plant-based?
Heinen’s has made it easier than ever by offering simple swaps for traditional dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, and even butter! Let’s explore these options together.
Almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, and walnut are all varieties of plant-based, dairy-free milks found at Heinen’s. Be careful because added sugar can sneak into plant-based milk, including those labeled “original”. Be sure to reach for the unsweetened variety.
Not ready for plant-based milk? Try a grass-fed milk like Origin A2 Guernsey Milk. Grass-fed dairy products are an upgrade because grass is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Humans are unable to digest grass, but cows that graze on grass produce milk rich in omega-3 fats in a form we can digest. If milk upsets your stomach, you may find relief by switching to A2 milk. It comes from cows that produce only the natural A2 protein, which tends to be easier to digest.
Just like plant-based milk, you can also find almond, cashew, and coconut milk yogurt in Heinen’s dairy department. Again, be mindful of added sugars. I recommend no more than 8 grams of added sugar per 5-ounce serving of yogurt. Siggi’s Plant-Based Coconut Blend Yogurt is my personal favorite!
Not ready for plant-based yogurt? Reach for Stonyfield Grass-fed Plain Yogurt or Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt instead. Goat’s milk has less lactose than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance.
Miyoko’s Creamery and The Dairy Free Co. are two brands of cashew-based cheeses receiving rave reviews from Heinen’s customers. Both make a nice plant-based addition to traditional cheese boards. Check out this recipe for a Plant-Based Charcuterie Board!
Violife is a meltable coconut-based cheese that’s delicious on top of pizza or veggie burgers. And if you’re looking for a cream cheese swap, Kite Hill has you covered with their almond milk version.
Not ready for plant-based cheese? You’ll love Organic Valley Grass-fed Cow’s Milk Cheese, LaClare Farms Goat Cheese, and Mt Vikos Traditional Feta Cheese.
One of my favorite alternatives to ice cream is NadaMoo! Organic Chocolate Frozen Dessert. It’s made from coconut milk with very little added sugar. Another is Cado, a creamy avocado-based treat as thick and delicious as the real thing!
Not ready for plant-based ice cream? Try Alden’s Organic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!
The Dairy Free Co. makes a fantastic plant-based sour cream out of cashews! It’s called…get this…Dollop Lama Cashew Topping. Look for it in the dairy department.
Not ready for plant-based sour cream? Upgrade with Organic Valley Sour Cream. It’s made from organic milk from pasture-raised cows and live cultures.
Miyoko’s Creamery Cultured Vegan Butter tastes and performs like traditional dairy butter, yet it’s made from plants and can be used in all culinary and baking applications.
Not ready for plant-based butter? Kerrygold Grass-fed Butter and Organic Valley Grass-fed Ghee are two staples in my kitchen that I know you’ll enjoy too! Ghee is clarified butter with hints of nutty, caramel flavors. It has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for high-heat cooking. If you’ve never tried ghee, be prepared for an unforgettable experience!
Food for Thought …
If you’re not quite ready to give up cheddar cheese or butter, the good news is you don’t have to! It’s perfectly fine to start with just one swap, like opting for coconut-based yogurt or Heinen’s unsweetened almond milk. It’s up to you to decide if you’re ready to venture into the world of cashew-based cheese or avocado ice cream. And if you’re not? Well that’s OK too! Just upgrade with one of the recommended products above.