Milk free (Dairy Free) diet

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

PDF Version available

Cow's milk is used widely in the foods we eat. Sometimes it is easy to see where it is used and sometimes it is harder to find. Usually children who react to cow's milk will also react to goat's milk and milk from other animals. Children sensitive to cow's milk are not usually sensitive to beef.

Look carefully for the word "milk" on packaged food ingredient lists and avoid those foods.

Avoid foods which contain:

  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Casein and caseinates
  • Cheese
  • Cheese powder
  • Condensed milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream
  • Curds
  • Custard
  • Dairy solids
  • Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, whey)
  • Evaporated milk
  • Ghee, butter oil, butter fat
  • Goat's and sheep's milk
  • Ice cream
  • Infant formula (cow's milk based)
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Low fat milk
  • Malted milk
  • Milk
  • Milk derivative
  • Milk protein
  • Milk solids
  • Non-fat dairy solids
  • Non-fat milk solids
  • Nougat
  • Pro-biotic drinks
  • Skim milk
  • Skim milk solids
  • Sour cream
  • Sour milk
  • Whey
  • Yoghurt

Food likely to contain cow's milk protein:

  • Infant rusks
  • Biscuits, breads, cakes, pastry
  • Breakfast cereals eg. chocolate rice cereals and muesli
  • Canned spaghetti
  • Caramel or butterscotch desserts
  • Chocolate, confectionery, marshmallows, boiled sweets
  • Drinking chocolate
  • Gravy
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Malted milk powder
  • Margarine
  • Milk ice blocks
  • Pasta sauces
  • Processed meat eg. pies, ham, sausage, pate
  • Salad dressings
  • Snack foods
  • Soups
  • Toppings

Cow's milk substitutes

Instead of:Use:
Cow's milk infant formula for a child less than I year of ageBreast milk, soy formula, hydrolysed formula or amino acid formula. Speak with a medical professional to choose the right one based on your child's diagnosis
Cow's milk for a child over 1 year of ageSoy drink - choose one with more than 120mg calcium /100mls soy drink
Rice drink - choose one with more than 120mg calcium /100mls rice drink
YoghurtSoy yoghurt
Cheese, sour creamSoy cheese, soy sour cream
Ice creamSoy ice cream, sorbet, milk free gelato
Butter and margarineMilk free margarine eg Becel®, Sundew®, Nuttelex®

Some soy products may contain small amounts of cow's milk protein and may need to be avoided if your child is highly allergic. Ask your doctor or dietitian.

These include:

  • Soy yoghurt (a milk-based starter may be used)
  • Soy cheese (may contain casein).

Note: Toffuti brand sour cream, cream cheese and cheese is milk free

Milk and Nut-Free Chocolates

Sweet William - milk chocolate/ tangerine milk chocolate (dairy free, gluten free, lactose free, peanut free)
chocolate spread (gluten free, lactose free, dairy free, peanut free)
available in Woolworths, Coles (health food isle), IGA (confectionery isle), health food shops.

Kinnerton- milk/dark chocolate (nut free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free)
available at Big W, Target, Aldi, Darrell Lea, Kmart., Myer, Sugar Fix

Willow - chocolate bars, Christmas, Easter and Valentine novelties, frogs
Available 03 9587 1079 or via

For more information

Cow's milk and dairy products are the main source of calcium in our diet. When it isn't possible to use cow's milk it is essential to make sure your child gets it from other sources.

Daily calcium requirements are:

1 - 3 years500mg  
4 - 8 years700mg  
9 - 13 yrs 1000 - 1300mg1000 - 1300mg
14 - 18 yrs 1300mg1300mg

Add up the usual amounts of these foods each day

Soy drink* - 100ml120 mg  
Rice drink with added calcium*-100mls120mg  
Soy Yoghurt **- 200g (1 large tub)300 mg  
Soy Cheese - ** 20g (1 slice)60 mg  
Soy Ice cream ** -2 scoops120 mg  
Soy Custard** - ½ cup150 mg  
Tofu*- 60 g (2 cubes)14 - 190 mg  
Salmon with bones - ½ cup400 mg  
Sardines - 1 small tin230 mg  
Breakfast cereal with added calcium**Check label  
Broccoli ½ cup20mg  

* Calcium content of foods can vary between brands
** Check all ingredient lists carefully as they may contain cow's milk protein

Calcium Supplements

In some cases it may be necessary to give a calcium supplement.


  • Sandocal, (1000mg calcium/tablet) a pleasant fizzy drink which can be made up with water or juice
  • Caltrate, (600mg/tablet) a tablet which can be crushed and added to food or drink
  • Nature's Way Kids Calcium chewable Burstlets (200mg calcium) - strawberry flavoured. Can be chewed or popped and squeezed into mouth or food.
  • Calcia (500mg) chewable lemon or orange flavoured tablet
  • Calsup (500mg) mint flavoured chewable tablet

For more information

For publications recommended by our hospitals' experts, please visit our book shop.

Kids Health (CHW)
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Tel: (02) 9845 0000
Fax: (02) 9845 3562
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Tel: (02) 9382 1688
Fax: (02) 9382 1451
Kaleidoscope, Hunter Children's Health Network
Kaleidoscope Children Young People and Families Network
Tel: (02) 4921 3670
Fax: (02) 4921 3599