It’s Month 6 of my Dairy-Free 3-Book Journey, and I wanted to share a new addition to all of my books. Since first writing Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, I’ve personally experienced the benefits of menu plans when a) making a dietary transition b) things get busy or c) you’re stuck in a rut. Honestly, the worst thing you can do to sabotage any diet, in my opinion, is to allow yourself to be hungry. Meal plans help to ensure that you’ve always got something satisfying in the pipeline. Which is why I’m currently working on menu plans in my upcoming books, and thought it would be helpful to create a super-easy, no frills, week-long, naturally dairy-free meal plan for those of you who are either new to the dairy-free diet or have some busy times ahead and don’t want to fret about food.
The entire dairy-free meal plan below is also gluten-free optional, and I’ve included several vegan and vegetarian options for those of you who like to Sideline Meat. Note that you could make your week even easier by doubling up some of the menu items during the week – I kept it varied to offer you more ideas. Finally, scale serving sizes to fit your caloric needs and keep snacks on hand!
Breakfast Dairy-Free Meal Plan
- Monday: Cereal or Granola – Keep it simple at the start of the week with your favorite healthy dairy-free cereal or granola doused with your milk beverage of choice, the options are many!
- Tuesday: Toast and Juice – Orange juice is a naturally bone-builder and whole grain toast slathered with your favorite nut or seed butter will keep you fueled. For nut-free, smash on some avocado and your favorite savory toppers. Need a bread alternative? Try brown rice cakes!
- Wednesday: Smoothie – My favorite way to start the day is with a thick, shake-like, energizing smoothie. This Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Shake is a personal favorite (great with peanut butter, too), and you can amp it up even more with protein powder, if desired.
- Thursday: Oatmeal – Go instant, steel cut if you have time, or plan ahead with easy Overnight Oatmeal. Top with nuts, seeds, coconut, brown sugar, coconut sugar, dried fruit, warm spices, protein powder – whatever your taste buds desire.
- Friday: Smoothie, Cereal or Oatmeal – Some things are worth repeating, you decide which one!
- Saturday: Eggs, Bacon & Toast – Poach the eggs or scramble them with just a bit of water for fluffy results. Or up your presentation with a Veggie Omelette. If eggs are out, try a tofu scramble, or better yet, some Tofu Rancheros!
- Sunday: Pancakes – No mix is needed for this super-easy weekend delight. Try this Basic Pancake Recipe topped with maple syrup, fresh fruit or even warmed nut butter.
Lunch Dairy-Free Meal Plan
- Monday: Baked Falafel – Though you can certainly buy them (falafels are almost always dairy-free), it’s easy to whip up a batch on Sunday and freeze this Meatless Monday dish for enjoying with pita or lettuce wraps and dairy-free tahini sauce throughout the week. Need something even easier? Swap the falafel for a pre-made vegan veggie burger.
- Tuesday: Asian Salad – Choose from the naturally dairy-free array of Asian-inspired vinaigrettes, top with chicken, tempeh or tofu, and add some crunchy cabbage, sliced almonds, green onions, mandarin oranges, or chow mein noodles.
- Wednesday: BLTA Sandwiches – The BLT is a naturally dairy-free delight, as long as you use dairy-free bread, and it gets even better when you add avocado. For a little more heft, turkey is another great addition.
- Thursday: Pasta Salad – Whether vinaigrette- or mayo-based, this is anther great way to use up vegetables, deli meats, and other eats from the week. It’s easy to throw together in the morning too, letting the flavors meld in time for the midday meal. Tired of pasta? Use quinoa, millet, wild rice or couscous instead.
- Friday: Soup – Chicken noodle, black bean, tomato, minestrone, or split pea, there are lots of soups that are naturally dairy-free, as long as the traditional formulas aren’t messed with!
- Saturday: Creamy Salad Sandwiches – Make it with chicken, turkey, eggs, baby shrimp, tofu or tempeh, there’s nothing easier and more fulfilling than a mayo “salad” filling (want something healthier? Try this easy homemade vegan mayo). Flavor it with a little Dijon, fresh herbs or spices to make it your own. And don’t forget the crunchy lettuce!
- Sunday: Wraps – From burritos with rice, meat, beans, veggies and guacamole to Thai-style wraps with fresh add-ins and peanut sauce, this is a fun option to enjoy while watching football. Going meatless? Try these luxurious Caesar Avocado Wraps.
Dinner Dairy-Free Meal Plan
- Monday: Kabobs – Skewers are a fun, healthy way to enjoy a Monday Night Football meal. Just marinade the components in a simple vinaigrette, skewer, and either grill or roast in a 450ºF oven for 20 to 30 minutes (turning once). Serve with rice. If taking the Sideline Meat Challenge, skewer hearty vegetables, like mushrooms, and some extra-firm tofu or tempeh, if desired.
- Tuesday: Spaghetti – Make your tomato sauce meaty or meatless and it serve atop wheat noodles, gluten-free noodles or paleo zoodles! If you use a store-bought spaghetti sauce, make sure it’s dairy-free – yes, some brands do contain milk, cream or cheese! Need a flavorful topper? Consider chopped olives or pan-fry breadcrumbs with garlic and salt in olive oil until toasty.
- Wednesday: Tacos – Liven up your week with a tasty taco bar of seasoned meat or faux meat (we love this homemade taco seasoning), tortillas or shells and an array of toppings … lettuce, tomatoes, chopped avocado, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, sliced olives, beans, sliced jalapenos, green onions, cilantro, or sauteed onions and bell peppers.
- Thursday: Stir Fry – Time to use up the vegetables you have on hand, mushrooms, broccoli, bean sprouts, snow peas, carrots … the list goes on. Make a quick teriyaki sauce with soy sauce and honey, and add your favorite protein to make it a complete meal.
- Friday: Fish – Perhaps the most elegant easy meal, fish fillets can be drizzled with olive oil, seasoned, and broiled for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with steamed vegetables and your favorite grain.
- Saturday: Chili – Whip it up in a hurry or toss it in the crockpot and let it simmer all day. There are so many variations to make, from the simple meat and bean version, to Hearty Black Bean Chili
- Sunday: Burgers – Enjoy beef, turkey, bison or veggie burgers on wheat or gluten-free buns (or in a lettuce wrap), or have a little healthy fun with football day and try these Sweet Potato Sliders. Serve with Potato Wedges (cut potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake, skin side down at 400ºF for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until tender on the inside and lightly browned on the outside).
What’s Your Favorite Easy Meal for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
It’s easy to forget how the simple meals are often the best, and require no dairy at all! Feel free to share your favorites below to give others go-to menu ideas!
3-Book Journey Update & Goal
We just had a big “back on track” meeting last night. The books are going well, but writing hit a slow down this month as other projects came into play. October is my favorite month of the year, and I plan to get a second book nearly finished this month!
In addition to my monthly posts on this journey, with recipes and informational posts, you can follow more of my project and several others on Twitter, via the hashtags #Inspired and #LoveMySilk. This series was made possible by Silk, and I’m every so grateful for their dairy-free support! For dairy-free milk beverage and yogurt coupons, recipes and much more, sign up for the Silk Newsletter. Here are the prior posts, just in case you missed them:
- Month 5: Book Announcement + Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Recipe
- Month 4: Update & Goal + Super Smoothies that are Not Green (4 Recipes!)
- Month 3: Update & Goal + The Dairy-Fee Shopping List for Hundreds of Recipes
- Month 2: Update on Recipes + Mini Maple French Toast Casseroles Recipe
- Month 1: The Journey Launch + Easy Cheesy Broccoli “Nachos” Recipe
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
I love to do quinoa in my rice cooker and add some steamed veggies. I could use more protein ideas!
Thank you for all the cooking ideas, you’ve saved dinner at my house many nights. One of the easiest meals (that my sons will eat happily) is cheesy baked chicken breasts. Crush Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares and mix in salt and pepper, dip chicken breasts in a beaten egg or spray with nonstick cooking spray, roll in the crushed cheddar crackers and put in a baking dish prepared with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Serve with a fresh green salad and fruit.
What a brilliant kid-friendly idea Sarah!! Thanks for sharing.
That does sound amazing! May I ask where you found the Crush Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares, I LOVE cheddar but can’t have it any longer. 🙁
They are sold in natural food stores, but you can also order them online -. https://amzn.to/3lMhmPu
Tacos are my favorite quick meal! With rice and beans!
Oh yes, I forgot about the rice!
We love hummus & homemade chips. So easy & yummy! Everything here looks delicious 🙂
Hummus is such a great protein source, too. Thank you!
I really want to try an Asian salad. That sounds so delicious! Salads are my all-time favorite. Instead of adding croutons I add a couple nuts in mine.
You must! They’re so flavorful.
This is a great post!! We accommodate many allergies at our house so we love simple dinners of marinated chicken and veggies/rice etc. we love making coconut milk rice. Love getting some fresh ideas and would
Love to win this weeks giveaway!!
Coconut milk rice, yum! I make a baked risotto with coconut milk, but haven’t tried stove top yet.
I love an oatmeal breakfast – GF steel cut oats, soaked overnight. Add 1/2 oz hemp seed, 1/2 oz walnuts, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Yum!
Definitely trying it this week – thanks for sharing Melodie!
We are dairy free, but I have so many people ask “How do you do that??” When I respond it’s not that hard they don’t believe me. Love this post!! So, so helpful to so many people!
I love it Kim – I feel the same way, it’s so much easier than people think!
I’m so excited that I found your blog! My favorite trick right now is to make a big pot of steel cut oats. Then I freeze it in muffin tin. For breakfast I pull a couple of “muffins” out of the freezer and microwave them for two minutes. Easy peasy!
This is a brilliant idea!
As a food blogger you would think that you would always have recipe ideas but when I try and think of something to eat, I go blank. I am so thankful for people who do meal plans because they help so much!! My hormone whisperer told me to drop the dairy, so I am even more grateful for this plan. I am chomping at the bit to get the book!!!
I know what you mean Jennifer – it can be so hard to think of meals on the fly.
So many amazing ideas, thanks for sharing! I love that mostly of those can be pretty veganized! 🙂
I seriously need this SO BAD. With a newly dairy-free husband, we both have no idea what to make him…so this is exactly what I have been looking for! Pinned!
Oh wow, you and I should team up on some ideas Taylor – I love the healthy paleo angle you take!
Ooh all of these look so tasty, Alisa! Like Shirley’s comment above, I’m usually a lot more about the savoury breakfasts because I find they keep me more satisfied and set me up for a lower-sugar day than sweet ones. Having said that, I’m always up for a smoothie, especially after a good morning workout session! I think one of my favourite recipes to eat any time of day (and it’s hardly a recipe) is just a stir fry with whatever veggies are in the fridge, some miso, tamari, rice vinegar and ginger. Then I’ll throw in whatever protein I have, which is sometimes animal based but often plant-based – tempeh, edamame etc. Satisfies me every time!
I really need to do more savories in the morning. Both my husband and I crave sweet most in the morning, and I’m not sure why. Stir-fry is often a favorite here, too. If I’m doing an all-veggie one, I throw some almond butter into the sauce for richness and a little protein 🙂
I love dairy would be difficult for me to not have it though you have so many great ideas like falafel yummy!
Well, with a naturally dairy-free meal plan like this, you wouldn’t even notice that you weren’t eating dairy 🙂 Thanks Adriana!
I love having a meal plan, this would really help organization!
I know! I’m trying to do meal plans more -they really do take the stress off.
Who knew dairy-free could be so amazing!!!!
I did 🙂 Thanks Nic!
I love all these ideas. I do so much better when I have a clear plan for the week I’ll be using this for sure.
what a great bunch of quick and easy meals!
Thank you Jessica!
All my favorite meals are actually easy meals and dairy free. I’m not sure I can name just one, and I rarely eat breakfast food for breakfast. I tend to eat non-breakfast food for breakfast because I feel more prepared to start the day when I have a good dose of protein. Actually when I come to think of it I kind of eat any meal any time of the day really. Tuna salad, chili, my Brazilian un-cheese rolls, barbecued chicken, homemade chicken nuggets. veggie soup, protein-packed muffins, a salad with lots of protein (meat, seafood, chickpeas), and more. All of your meal selections look mouthwatering good, Alisa! Thanks!
You do always make the most appealing, accessible recipes Shirley! Love these ideas – thank you for sharing!
Our favorite easy meal is breakfast *for* dinner! For some reason, kids find scrambled eggs for dinner very exciting. 🙂
Great meal plan!
I love that idea and could see waffles being a hit, too!