Dairy-free Dilemma

Up until the age of 10, I was lactose-intolerant, but thankfully, I have grown out of it. Ever since then, you could say that I have ‘made up’ for all the years I did not get to eat dairy.

Here at Food for Thought, we constantly strive to choose the healthier option. While there are various reasons to give up dairy, one of the most common reasons (aside from lactose-intolerance) is to lower one’s saturated fat intake. Knowing how unhealthy excessive dairy can be, especially in the high-fat items like cheese, I decided to give it all up for three days.

After getting some inspiration from Spoon University’s post about being dairy-free, I kept these tips in the back of my mind, and mentally prepared for this dairy-less journey.

While simply meal-prepping for these next three days would have been a much easier process, I did not have this option, because I live on campus and eat through my meal plan. I used this as an opportunity to really explore the dairy-free options for the typical college student eating on campus.

Lunch – For lunch I usually order a deli wrap from the dining hall, with water and a piece of fresh fruit on the side.

  • A typical deli wrap for me includes:  a gluten-free tortilla, turkey meat, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a light smear of mayo.
  • My new dairy-free version:  gluten-free wrap, turkey, no cheese, lettuce, tomato, red pepper hummus (to replace the mayonnaise).

Dinner – For dinner, I had a salad loaded with fresh veggies, and a vinaigrette (not creamy) dressing on the side, for the first two nights. The third night, I ordered the Chicken Avocado Club sandwich.

  • Original Sandwich: Wheat bun, grilled chicken breast, onion slices, bacon strips, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado slices
  • How I ordered it: No bun, grilled chicken breast, onion slices, bacon strips, lettuce, tomato, avocado slices

Main courses were both easy and delicious, but then came the late night study sessions we frequently experience as college students. These are the moments of weakness that cause many of us add in the unnecessary calories.

Instead of grabbing a bag of buttery popcorn, I picked up these sweet potato chips. (Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free)


Even after that, I knew a run to Starbucks was just what I needed to finish my homework that night. Instead of getting the usual White Chocolate Mocha, I decided to try to the ‘Pink Drink’ from Starbucks’ ~secret menu~.

For those of you who have not heard of the Pink Drink, you can order Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refresher, but swap in coconut milk instead of water. This still gave me both the caffeine kick that I needed, and the creamy taste I craved from the coconut milk.


As an added bonus, the Pink Drink contains less than half of the calories of the White Chocolate Mocha!

  • A grande White Chocolate Mocha (with whipped cream) contains 430 calories, with 41g of sugar.
  • A grande size Pink Drink is approximately 140 calories (90 from the Refresher, about 50 from coconut milk)with 22g of sugar.

Tasteful options like these made avoiding dairy a breeze! While eliminating dairy all together may not be a reality for most people, skipping it every now and then doesn’t hurt!

If you have a favorite dairy-free dish, let us know in the comments below!


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