If you follow a dairy-free diet for personal, health-related, or religious reasons, you may have a hard time narrowing down snacking options that don’t contain milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy-derived ingredients (
This may be especially difficult when shopping for pre-made snack foods. These food often contain dairy and dairy-derived ingredients like milk powder, whey protein, and casein (
Fortunately, there are a variety of dairy-free snacks to choose from, including pre-made, kid-friendly, sweet, and savory options.
This article explores 19 nutritious dairy-free snacks.
If you’re craving a sweet, dairy-free snack, you’re in luck!
The following options will hit the sweet spot for people following dairy-free diets:
1. Sweet and salty energy balls
Energy balls are easy to make and are a perfect choice when you’re craving something sweet.
Plus, they can be customized based on your flavor preferences. Make them in larger batches and place them in your refrigerator or freezer so you always have a nutritious snack on hand.
Simply toss ingredients like coconut flour, nut butter, oats, vanilla, salt, and dates into a food processor and pulse until they’re a smooth consistency. Then roll the mixture into balls and store in your fridge or freezer.
Here are a few delicious dairy-free energy ball recipes:
- 3 Ingredient Healthy No Sugar Added Paleo Energy Balls by Beaming Baker
- 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cup Energy Bites by Minimalist Baker
- Lemon Coconut No-Bake Energy Bites from The Simple Veganista
2. Dairy-free chocolatey smoothie
If you’re a chocolate lover, but can’t or prefer not to eat dairy, you can still enjoy a chocolatey snack.
To make a rich, chocolate smoothie without dairy, all you need is dairy-free chocolate protein powder such as pea protein powder and cacao powder, which are both naturally dairy-free.
Add a scoop of dairy-free chocolate protein powder plus a teaspoon of cacao powder to a blender. Add ingredients of your choice like frozen banana, nut butter, ground flax seed, and a plant-based milk such as cashew or coconut milk.
Blend until smooth and you’ve got a chocolatey, dairy-free treat prepared in just a few minutes.
Here are a few more recipe ideas for dairy-free chocolate smoothies:
- Cacao Smoothie by Real Food-Whole Life
- Dairy Free Cherry Chocolate Smoothie from Milk Free Mom
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Vegan Protein Shake Recipe by Beaming Baker
3. Banana protein muffins
Baked goods like muffins are delicious, but they’re often lacking filling ingredients like protein and fiber. They also tend to be high in added sugar.
They also often contain dairy products like milk and butter.
However, there are ways to make delicious baked goods that are filling and dairy-free.
This dairy-free Banana Protein Muffin recipe from The Healthy Consultant contains dairy-free protein powder, which boosts the protein content of this dish.
4. Coconut yogurt parfaits
If you love yogurt but are following a dairy-free diet, give coconut yogurt a try.
Like dairy-based yogurt, coconut yogurt is rich and creamy, making it a perfect ingredient for dairy-free snacks like yogurt parfaits.
To make a sweet, crunchy, and creamy coconut yogurt parfait, layer your coconut yogurt with your choice of the following ingredients:
- fresh fruit like berries, diced apples, or bananas
- nuts or seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or chopped almonds.
- low sugar granola like Purely Elizabeth or Paleonola
- toppings like chia seeds, ground flaxseed, cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut
For people on dairy-free diets who prefer salty and savory snacks over sweet, the following options are sure to be a hit:
5. Tuna salad with veggie sticks
Even though some people think mayo is a dairy product, most types of mayo are actually dairy-free. This makes tuna salad a great choice for those on a dairy-free diet.
Try pairing tuna salad with sliced vegetables like celery and carrot sticks for some extra fiber and crunch.
6. Savory dairy-free snack boxes
For a quick, savory snack idea, grab a container and fill it with your favorite dairy free snack foods.
Make sure you choose a mix of ingredients that provide fiber, protein, and fat for a balanced snack that will help keep you feeling satisfied (
Here are some examples of dairy-free snack pairings:
- salted almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and sliced vegetables
- hummus, cherry tomatoes, olives, and crackers
- turkey and avocado roll ups with veggies and dairy-free Kite Hill dip
7. Chickpea salad
Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber. They can be paired with a variety of ingredients to make a savory snack.
To make a quick and colorful snack that’s dairy-free as well as vegan and gluten-free, combine a can of chickpeas with sliced cherry tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, and avocado.
Drizzle your salad with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt. Store your salad in glass jars for easy transport.
8. Pizza roasted nuts
Pizza-flavored snack foods usually contain dairy–derived ingredients — making them off limits for those following dairy-free diets.
Fortunately, even though this Pizza Roasted Nuts recipe from From My Bowl is packed with cheezy pizza flavor, it’s cheese-free and safe for those who need to avoid dairy.
The recipe is made with dairy-free ingredients like nutritional yeast, sun dried tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.
Even though there are a number of dairy-free snack recipes that are easy to make, sometimes you just want something quick that doesn’t require any prep.
Having nutritious dairy-free snacks available at home and at work makes it easier to make healthy choices when hunger hits.
Here’s a list of nutritious, premade dairy-free snacks:
9. Daily Harvest Energy Bites
Daily Harvest energy bites are dairy free, plant-based, and made with filling ingredients like almonds, coconut, avocado, chia seeds, and berries.
They come in seven flavors, including Raspberry + Fig.
10. Turkey sticks
Turkey sticks are a protein-packed, dairy-free snack that can be kept in your bag, desk, and pantry for a quick bite. Pair Chomps or The New Primal turkey sticks with a piece of fruit for an easy and filling snack.
11. Dairy-free bars
Although many bars are made with dairy-derived ingredients, companies like Thunderbird, RXBAR, Jonesbar, and Patterbar offer dairy-free bars made with nutritious ingredients like nuts and dates.
12. Brami lupini beans
Bean-based snacks can be more satisfying than chips because they’re higher in protein and fiber.
Try out Brami Lupini Beans, which come in flavors like Sea Salt + Vinegar, Chili + Lime, and Mediterranean Medley.
13. Nut butter
Single serving nut butter packets make a perfect on-the-go snack when paired with a piece of fruit. You can find nut butter packets from RXBAR, Once Again, and Artisana in stores and online.
Shop for single serving nut butter packets online
14. Hard boiled eggs
Hard boiled eggs can be enjoyed as a satisfying snack on their own or can be paired with fresh fruit or sliced vegetables for a more balanced meal.
Hard boiled eggs can be made in minutes or can be purchased pre-shelled in some stores.
If your child is on a dairy-free diet, snack time may come with some stress. After all, many kid-friendly snack foods like yogurt and cheese sticks are dairy-based.
If you’re stumped on what to make your little one at snack time, try out these kid-friendly, dairy-free options:
15. Banana and nut butter nice cream
“Nice cream” is a frozen treat made with bananas, not dairy.
Try offering your dairy-free little one this recipe the next time they ask for something sweet at snack time.
16. Cheesy herb roasted chickpeas
For a crunchy, cheesy, kid-friendly snack that’s high in fiber and plant-based protein, try out this Cheezy Herb Roasted Chickpea recipe.
The cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast, which makes an excellent cheese substitute in dairy-free recipes.
17. PB&J chia pudding
Chia seeds are highly nutritious, providing magnesium, calcium, fiber, healthy fats, and more (
Your child will love the sweet and creamy taste of this Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding, which is made with chia seeds, natural peanut butter, almond milk, a bit of maple syrup, and frozen berries.
Make a large batch and store it in your fridge in small containers for snack time.
Mashing some avocado with lime juice and a bit of sea salt creates a kid-friendly guacamole that can be served with nutritious, crunchy foods like veggie sticks and plantain chips.
Have your child help you prepare their snack by mashing the avocados and mixing in the lime juice.
19. Mini Chicken and Carrot Meatballs
These Mini Chicken and Carrot Meatballs are sure to be a hit with toddlers and older kids alike.
They’re packed with protein from the chicken, plus the vegetables can be tweaked to accommodate your child’s flavor preferences. For example, if they’re not a fan of carrots, try chopped broccoli or asparagus instead.
Veggie meatballs are a great way to add more vegetables into your kid’s diet in a tasty way.
Plus, those following vegan diets may avoid dairy for environmental and ethical reasons (
Some people may choose to avoid all dairy products, including dairy-derived ingredients like whey protein and casein, while others only avoid milk, cheese, and yogurt.
No matter why you’re following a dairy-free diet, it’s important to read labels when you’re grocery shopping to avoid unintentional consumption of dairy.
While some foods like milk, yogurt, ice cream, and butter are more obvious sources of dairy, many pre-made and packaged foods contain dairy — even items that you may not expect.
Be sure to read ingredient labels and keep an eye out for dairy-based ingredients like:
- milk, evaporated milk, milk powder, or cream
- sweetened condensed milk
- whey protein
These are just some examples of dairy-based ingredients you may spot on food labels.
Keep in mind that, by law, companies must label food products that contain milk. However, alcoholic beverages that contain milk do not have to follow this label law, so it’s possible that alcoholic beverages may contain hidden dairy-based ingredients (10).
Food products are sometimes labeled “dairy-free,” “vegan,” and “paleo” — which can help people following dairy-free diets identify products that are safe for them to eat.
Still, it’s always a smart idea to read the ingredient label even when a product claims to be dairy-free.
Those with milk allergies should exercise even more caution when shopping for food than those who follow a dairy-free diet for personal or religious reasons. This is because they’re likely intolerant to lactose and may deal with unpleasant side effects.
Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) affects a small percentage of infants and children and is very rare in adults. CMA is serious and can lead to anaphylaxis if milk is ingested, which can be fatal (
For this reason, parents and caregivers of children with CMA have to be diligent about reading labels and food safety. Here’s a more detailed list of milk ingredients to look out for when grocery shopping.
When shopping for dairy-free snacks, it’s important to scan ingredient labels for dairy and dairy-derived ingredients. Parents and caregivers of children with CMA have to be especially careful when food shopping.
Milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy-based ingredients can be found in a number of snack foods, from chips to protein bars.
This can make it difficult for those following dairy-free diets to find nutritious, dairy-free snacks.
Fortunately, there’s a number of recipes and pre-made snacks that are dairy-free that make healthy snack choices for kids and adults.
Just one thing
If you want to add a cheesy taste to dishes like popcorn, soups, and pastas, try fortified nutritional yeast. It’s not only a delicious dairy-free cheese substitute but also great for those following vegan diets as it’s high in vitamin B12.