People who can't consume dairy products usually look for alternatives. Fortunately, there are many choices on the market these days. Most of the national grocery chains, as well as health food stores, offer pretty extensive line-ups of plant-based products. Many of these items taste as good or better than the dairy foods they were created to replace. In fact, some of the top plant-based brands point out that their foods include a better overall nutritional profile than good old dairy products. So, what are some of the most popular alternatives out there? Here's a quick list of the products that are flying off store shelves wherever they're available:

Dairy-free Ice Cream

Now appearing on store shelves everywhere: dairy-free ice cream treats. They cost a bit more but taste just as good as the real stuff. Vegans have been getting these things at health food stores for years but word got out to the rest of the world about how good dairy-free ice cream tastes. After that, the rest was food history. If you want to avoid lactose or dairy in general for any reason, this is a great way to experiment. 

Oat Milk

Mix rolled oats with water and what do you get? Oat “milk,” of course. This stuff doesn't really taste like milk but it has its own unique, lightly sweet flavor that people are crazy about. You can buy it at the store or make your own, if you don't mind making a small mess in the kitchen. Mix a cup of rolled oats with four cups of water and blend on high for one minute. Strain the mixture well and drink on ice. You can add it to cereal or coffee and it gets the job done. 

Vegan Butter 

Perhaps the most delicious of the dairy alternatives to appear in recent years is vegan butter. Not only does it taste great, even to non-vegans, but it has a consistency like real butter and a better nutritional profile. Usually lower in fat and higher in essential vitamins, this dairy alternative is a big hit with people who cook vegan dishes on a regular basis. Some of the top vegan butter brands are among the biggest sellers in both health-food and traditional chain grocery stores. 

Nut Cheese

Nut cheese is made from nuts instead of animal products, so it's a true “alternative” dairy product. Amazingly, the taste is even better than standard types of cheese. These cheeses tend to be on a lot of gourmet lists for people who know nothing about the fact that it is a non-dairy product. They love it for its taste. If you want to try nut cheese, be sure to ask the store clerk to guide you to the non-gourmet versions or you might end up spending more than expected. No matter the brand or price, nut cheese is one of the true delicacies to come out of the alt-dairy industry. Chances are, you've already had it on crackers at a party and not known that it was a non-dairy item.

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