Though for some of us a food allergy or intolerance might just mean popping a Lactaid (and then digging into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s), it can obviously be a whole lot more serious. Depending on the type and severity, a food allergy can be downright life-threatening.
And it’s a big deal for a lot of people—approximately 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, including 1 in every 13 kids. With food allergies on the rise, increasing 50 percent over the last decade, there’s a growing need for swaps that can replace the most common food allergens—without, of course, tasting like absolute garbage.
So we’ve put together a few of our favorite options to use in place of the top eight allergens. These culinary doppelgangers are pretty healthy and incredibly tasty, meaning you might actually prefer some of them to their potentially dangerous counterparts. In other words, never again will you have to pass on a whole dish just because there’s one pesky ingredient in the mix.
With no dairy, gluten, soy, nuts, lactose, or added sugar, this pea protein milk alternative packs an impressive 10 grams of protein and 90 calories per cup along with 35 percent of your calcium and 20 percent of your vitamin D needs for the day. With a creamy texture and great flavor, you can use it in smoothies, coffee, baking, and of course, straight-up drinking. Be sure to check online to see which local stores near you carry this hidden gem.(prices vary; bolthouse.com)
Can’t bear the thought of life without cheese? Luckily, you don’t have to. These new plant-based shreds from Daiya are 100-percent dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free—and irresistibly cheesy.Available in mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack varieties, they’re proof that even cheese isn’t #irreplaceable.($3.49; amazon.com)
Who knew you could get your omega-3 fix from buttering your morning toast?! This plant-based butter alternative is free of gluten, dairy, GMOs, trans fats, and MSG. It’s also low in saturated fat and rich in ALA omega-3s. Use it to bake and cook or slather it on your breakfast bread of choice. (You can find this butter doppelganger at local grocery stores or on the site.)(price varies, earthbalancenatural.com)
Can’t live without your morning breakfast sandwich? This plant-based egg substitute packs in 3 grams of protein per serving with no saturated fat or cholesterol.It’s an ideal swap for baked goods like cookies, muffins, and cakes—but it also makes a mean omelet or scramble.($6.79; thrivemarket.com)
PB&J lovers, rejoice! SunButter is a sunflower butter that’s free of the top food allergens—but just as addictive as its nuttier cousin. It also packs as much protein, less saturated fat, and more magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, and iron than traditional nut butters.($5.99; jet.com)
While most store-bought trail mixes typically feature a variety of tree nuts (we’ve never met an almond-less trail mix), Enjoy Life’s line is just sweet dried fruit and crunchy seeds. These packs are also wheat-, dairy-, soy-, egg-, sesame-, and shellfish-free, ensuring they’re safe for the whole family. Try the Beach Bash for a sweet tropical flavor or Mountain Mambo to get your chocolate fix.($15.60-20.66/ 6-pack, amazon.com)
Craving a hit of umami without the soy? Bragg Liquid Coconut Aminos are a gluten-free and soy-free sub for tamari, Worcestershire, and soy sauce. Made from the nectar of coconut palms, the sap is fermented and blended with salt to yield a slightly sweet and savory sauce. Try blending into salad dressings, marinades, and dips.($6.99, bragg.com)
With the rise of gluten intolerance, celiac, and wheat allergy, there’s a lot of great wheat-free products on the market. We love this ancient grain bread from Udi’s because it’s naturally gluten-free yet packs an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving. Perfect for morning toast or lunchtime sandwiches, it’s a wheat-free bread you’ll actually be excited to eat.($9.29; jet.com)
A staple in Asian cuisines, sesame oil tends to make an appearance in nearly every store-bought sauce, dip, or glaze. This hoisin sauce from Kikkoman is blissfully sesame-free and gluten-free—with no added MSG, preservatives, or high-fructose corn syrup. Use it to step up your stir-fry game any night of the week.($14.33; amazon.com)
Craving a big platter of shrimp? We got you. Sophie’s Kitchen offers a wide range of faux seafood, appropriate for both allergy sufferers and our plant-based friends. This coconut breaded shrimp comes fully cooked and frozen, ready to be pan-fried and served atop a bed of rice, or nestled into tortilla shells stuffed with avocado and slaw. Use the online locator to find where you can find these lil’ guys at a natural grocer near you.(price varies, sophieskitchen.com)