Milk and soy free diet (1024)

Key points below

What is a milk and soy free diet?

This diet means you don’t eat or drink anything that has milk protein or soy protein in it. 
Why does my child need this diet?

Some children are allergic to both milk protein and soy protein.  This means they should not eat foods or ingredients in foods that have proteins from milk or soy in them.  Many foods include milk and soy protein.  It is important to read the food label to determine if a food is safe to eat.  Infants who drink formula will need to use a formula that is milk-free and soy-free.  They should also not have foods with milk or soy ingredients in them.

Doesn’t my child need milk and soy to grow?

Taking cow’s milk and soy out of the diet may not give your child enough calories, protein, calcium, or vitamin D.  Supplements may be needed.  Talk with your child’s doctor or dietitian.  They may help you choose a milk substitute and supplements.  Many milk substitutes are not good for children under 2 years old or without close medical supervision.  Many substitutes are low in protein and calories.  These nutrients are important for growing children.  Your child may need medical supervision to meet their nutrient needs.  

How do I know if something has milk or soy protein in it?

Food allergens must be listed on all food labels.  This includes milk and soy. 

Helpful tips

How do I get started on a milk and soy free diet?

1. Make a list of foods to avoid.  Look at your food at home.  Read labels to find out which foods are milk and soy free.  Make a list of foods that you need to find a substitute for.
2. Make a list of foods to get.  Start with single-ingredient foods like fruits and vegetables.  See the Food Choices table for ideas.
3. Go shopping.  Start with your local grocery store.  If you can’t find all of the items you need, try a specialty grocery store or shop online.  Ask your dietitian for a list of resources for buying allergen-free foods.
4. Find safe drinks.  Talk to your doctor or dietitian.  They can help you find safe drinks that will meet your child’s nutrient needs.

Food Choices This is a list of suggestions only.  Always read food labels.

Drinks: Ask your doctor or dietitian for a safe milk and soy substitute, like pea protein.

Do not choose: Cow’s milk, soy milk, buttermilk, nonfat dry milk, evaporated or condensed milk, cocoa mixes that have milk, milkshakes

Breads and starches: Milk-free soy-free breads, plain rice or pasta dry or cooked cereal, milk-free soy-free crackers, milk-free soy-free pancakes or waffles.

Do not choose: Any item that has milk or soy ingredients, crackers made with cheese, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, waffles or French toast made with milk

Cheese: Milk-free soy-free cheese substitutes made from rice, pea, vegetables, coconut, or other ingredients.  Some may have casein.  Read labels carefully.

Do not choose: All cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, soy cheese.

Condiments: Salt, pepper, spices, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, salsa, jelly, jam, barbeque sauce, gravy made without milk or soy ingredients.

Do not choose: Cheese sauce, soy sauce, stroganoff sauce, butter flavor popcorn seasoning. Non-dairy creamer may contain milk.

Desserts and snacks Homemade dessert made without milk or soy ingredients, gelatin, sorbet, fruit ice, popsicles, fruit snacks, marshmallows, hard candy, jelly beans, gum drops, sugar, honey, molasses, milk-free soy-free chocolate bars,100% cocoa powder

Do not choose: Any store-bought or bakery prepared desserts made with milk or soy ingredients:  ice cream, frozen yogurt, yogurt, pudding, custard, whipped cream, milk chocolate candy, fudge, butter-flavored candies, sherbet and caramels  

Fats: Milk-free soy-free margarine, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, Italian salad dressing, fried foods made in clean oil

Do not choose: Butter, margarine, cream cheese, sour cream, sauces made with butter, cream or cheese, salad dressings with cheese, buttermilk or milk added, chips with cheese or sour cream flavoring

Fruits: Fresh, canned, frozen, or dried

Do not choose: Fruits with yogurt coating.

Vegetables: Fresh, frozen, or canned

Do not choose: Any vegetable made with butter, cheese, or cream sauce

Meat and meat substitutes: Fresh beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish; cooked or hard-boiled eggs, nuts, peanuts butter; dry beans, peas, or lentils

Do not choose: Any meat or meat substitute, fish or eggs made with milk, butter, or cheese, meats with breading, hot dogs, sausage, or lunchmeats that have milk in them.

What are some brands of milk and soy free margarines?

Fleishman’s Unsalted Stick Margarine
Earth Balance Soy Free and Olive Oil Buttery Spreads
Smart Balance Light
What are some brands that offer milk and soy free foods?
Daiya: 877-324-9211
Applegate Farms:, 866-587-5858
Cherrybrook Kitchen:, 888-417-9343
Enjoy Life Foods:, 888-252-5438
Ripple:, 888-206-1664
So Delicious:, 866-388-7853
Ian’s Natural Foods:, 800-543-6637
Van’s Natural Foods:, 800-323-7117
Wayfare:, 877-586-5220

Where can I find more information?

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) offers education and support to families with food allergies.  Phone: 800-929-4040,


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any concerns or if your child has special health care needs not covered by this information.