As Christmas is approaching, you will want to make sure your little one gets to enjoy Christmas celebration treats just like any child without a milk allergy. It can be tricky to find milk-free Christmas treats as milk or milk powder is often added as an ingredient to lots of products and recipes. Sweet foods such as chocolate, biscuits, cakes, trifle, chocolate log and savoury foods such as Yorkshire puddings and mashed potato all usually contain milk or dairy.
This blog will contain some ideas and tips on how to navigate this time of year when your child has a milk allergy. You will find a variety of different milk/dairy alternatives for the products that children enjoy at around this time, and tips on attending Christmas parties to limit stress, maximise the fun and enjoy foods with peace of mind for a fun and tasty Christmas!
For transparency, I am not recommending these products over any other products you may find in the supermarket, these are suggestions only. I have not been paid by any companies to include these products in this blog.
Milk free alternatives
Yorkshire puddings can be a favourite part of the Christmas dinner for children. You can either make them by using a ready-made batter mix or from scratch. Whichever way you choose to make them, your child will be able to enjoy delicious milk free Yorkshire puddings.
If you wish to make the batter from scratch you can substitute dairy milk with a plant-based alternative milk such as soya, oat, or almond milk. When dairy milk is substituted with a plant milk alternative, you may need to use slightly less to achieve the correct consistency of the batter. If you struggle to find a milk free recipe you love, you can also search online for vegan Yorkshire pudding recipes as these are free from milk. There are plenty of vegan recipes out there.
The options for ready-made batter mixes are unfortunately rather limited but there are some options out there, two of which are below:
Tesco – £0.75 per pack/ Collection – £2.79 per pack
Chocolate is a favourite sweet treat for many children and especially during Christmas time. It is often gifted to children and placed out at parties and other events. Milk free chocolate is now available in the shops more than it used to be, but unfortunately the selection isn’t always very large, and these chocolates are sometimes placed away from the main sweets aisle making them harder to find. You may find them on the free from aisle in the supermarkets.
The milk free options do tend to be more expensive than the milk-containing ones. On a positive note, several chocolate brands that are enjoyed by children have begun making similar milk free alternatives to their popular products and these tend to be more affordable. Milk free chocolate advent calendars are now also available, so your child doesn’t have to miss out on this fun tradition of the Christmas countdown.
It is important to note that around half of children who are affected by milk allergy are also allergic to soya. As many dairy free products contain soya it can be difficult to find safe products for a child to enjoy. Thankfully there are products made by companies that are free from both of these allergens. A company called Moo Free produces milk and soya free chocolate that is sold in most food shops like Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons. Another brand that also produces soya and dairy free chocolate is NOMO and this can be purchased in Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose, and Holland and Barrett.
Holland & Barett – £1.00 /Morrisons – £2.25
Tesco – £1.30/ Sainsburys – £0.85
This selection box which is milk and soya-free is also available from healthy supplies website and is priced at £3.49:
Trifle contains both custard and cream which are both milk heavy products, however this dessert can also be enjoyed milk free.
This dessert can be prepared milk-free at home using other alternatives for custard and whipped cream and substituting some ingredients in the sponge cake/finger recipe:
- For the whipped cream you can either use ready-made squirty cream that comes in a bottle or a dairy free cream alternative that can be whipped.
- Some dairy free creams cannot be whipped as they have a lower fat content. To overcome this, you can add an oil such as vegetable or coconut oil (add 50-70g to 200g of plant-based cream) which will help to get the consistency of whipped cream.
- Some other options include making cream out of cashew nuts or making whipped cream out of egg whites.
- The sponge fingers or sponge cake recipes often require butter and sometimes milk depending on the recipe. These can be substituted with dairy free milks or dairy free fat spreads like margarine.
- A lot of the ready-made sponge fingers that can be bought in food shops are dairy free but it’s still always important to check the ingredients list as recipes can differ and change without notice. (Check packaging for milk ingredients every time you buy.)
Tesco – £ 1.35
Waitrose – £1.00
Sainsburys – £1.65/Tesco – £1.35/Asda – £2.20
Asda – £1.00/Tesco – £1.15
Attending Christmas parties
December is usually a busy month for parties and other childrens events. It is understandable to feel worried about your child either having very limited options at a gathering, accidentally having milk-containing food resulting in a reaction, or for them to feel left out or isolated.
Here are some tips for you to feel more confident about taking part in these fun festive gatherings making sure your child is safe and feels included in mealtimes:
- Give a list of foods your child is allergic to, to family and friends ahead of the holiday season to allow them to plan accordingly.
- Another idea could be to take premade meals to a party or gathering just in case there are very limited options to make sure your child will have something to eat.
- Take milk free sweet treats with you, or if your child is going without you, giving them to your child ahead of the party to take with them, can help guarantee that your little one can have a sweet treat after a meal.
- Ask the host to save food labels, ingredient lists and recipes for you to look at before the food is served to your child. This can help you feel better assured that it is safe for your child to eat.
- Look up different products on different supermarket websites will often allow you to search for ingredient lists to help you feel more in control and save time. Do check the packaging of the product before serving in case the website is not up to date with ingredient changes.
To conclude, when your child has a milk allergy the festive season can be a challenging time. It can be difficult for you, making sure your child is able to join in on the fun of Christmas meals and treats. This blog has shown you that Christmas can be enjoyed, with or without a milk allergy, with careful planning and ensuring that family and friends are all aware of what is safe and not safe to eat.
Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in these blogs are for general informational purposes only. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional/medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding your child’s medical condition.