Grocery shopping took on a whole new “normal” with my diagnosed food allergies. Reading food labels requires slowing down and looking for hidden clues. Milk products contain the protein, casein, so it is essential to check for that word. I’ve found products that may say “Dairy-free” on the front of the label but have casein in the ingredients.
I am blessed to live close to several grocery stores, but I leave at least 30 minutes away from a Whole Foods store. My first challenge was to find products in my local stores that would meet at least some of my needs.
My first breakfasts were the store brand of Rice Chex and Corn Chex; I tried various kinds of milks – soy, rice, almond. Five years ago these milks were not even advertised on TV but now you can find coupons and specials. My regular grocery store is Kroger, so I first learned where to locate some of my products. You locate the Health Foods – in Kroger it’s called Nature’s Market. This part of the store is seldom located in the same place in any Kroger store. You just have to hunt sometimes.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a milk:
- check the protein grams
- check sugar grams
- is it enriched? look for calcium
- consider price
- buy a small container to see if you like the taste (I first bought only vanilla flavored rice milk because I didn’t like the taste of plain milk
After you’ve tried the choices available to you and chosen a milk, consider buying another type to use for cooking if it is cheaper. I like the taste of almond; it has a richer texture. But my digestive system gives me a little warning, just like when I eat a lot of almonds — not so comfortable. So I usually buy rice milk.
Pricing can seem so random, with sales that last so long you get comfortable with the price as a new normal. For some reason I started buying my milk off the non-refrigerated aisle. I’m not sure if they even had it refrigerated, but two years ago I checked the prices and found refrigerated to be much cheaper.
I’m a grocery shopper by routines and habits – but it pays to look again at prices AND labels. Some labels have become more specific. Kroger carried their own brand of chocolate chips with no milk, but one day my receipt spit out a recall on them. Some people had allergic reactions to the chips, so they changed the label to say, “produced in a facility that uses milk products in producing other products.”
- enriched milk that adds calcium that my over 60 body needs
- more choices than ever, more awareness
- able to do my own shopping most of the time (it’s hard to explain my foods to someone else and even harder to locate some of my foods)