Having to change your diet or cut out certain items would be hard for any of us. It may mean you can no longer eat your favourite food or you are worried how to make you diet balanced now. 

But with some top tips and advice you can eat well in no time!

Remember before cutting out gluten or dairy do talk to your doctor, dietitian or medical professional as it is a big change to make and should only be done if necessary!

Gluten free (gf)

  • What is gluten?  It is a protein found in most flours and can not be digested by some people.
  • The main reason to cut gluten out of your diet is having coeliac disease; though you may be gluten free for other reasons too. 

Top tips

  • Take advantage of starchy food which are naturally GF  – e.g. potatoes and rice
  • If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease ask your doctor about staple foods on prescription
  • Try your normal recipes with Gluten Free flour or pasta, if you cannot find GF alternatives
  • You may find more GF products available on the internet than in shops
  • Gluten can hide in places you won’t expect such as sauces, chocolate and crisps so always check the label – Gluten will usually appear as wheat
  • Protect yourself from cross-contamination by having separate spreads from the rest of the family and use toaster bags

Lactose / dairy free

  • There are many reasons you may have to cut dairy out of your diet
  • A main reason is lactose intolerance – lactose is the sugar in milk which can upset some peoples’ digestive system if they are intolerant to it. Therefore it is just this sugar you need to cut out.
  • However some people have to be completely dairy free – due to other proteins in the milk making them ill. This can mean having no dairy at all.

Top tips

  • Know your food labels and the many ways dairy items can be listed on food! Including: Milk powder, any cheese/cheese powder, margarine (unless stated dairy free), yogurt, quark, fromage frais, cream, casein, milk solids, whey
  • Take care with non-packaged items as you cannot be sure what is in them, ask if necessary as allergen information should be available
  • Try alternative sources of dairy, such a soya products (including yogurts, milk and puddings), dairy free margarine, oat/coconut/almond milks or if you are lactose free, there are lacto free ranges!
  • Get your calcium! It is very important for strong bones and teeth. We normally get it from dairy, so buy fortified milk alternatives. Non-dairy sources include: fortified dairy alternative milks (soya, oat, coconut, almond milk), chickpeas/soya beans, tofu, kidney beans, okra, spring greens and apricots
  • For babies there are dairy free and hydrolysed formula milks, talk to your health visitor or midwife for more details!