Eating Soy-Free 101

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

We are in the middle of several weeks of posts covering the basics of cooking, baking, eating, and buying soy-free food. As a follow up to our posts on Cooking Soy-Free 101 and Baking Soy-Free 101, here are some basic tips for choosing soy-free food when eating food you didn’t prepare.

When we first started eating soy-free, Ashley and I had many struggles, false starts, and unintentional learning opportunities. We knew that we wanted to eat soy-free food, but we didn't know where to begin or what things contained soy. 

We've learned a lot over the past few years and want to share that information with you! We know it can feel complex and complicated when first trying to eat soy-free. But the good news is that anyone can do it! With a little practice you can eat and live soy-free!

Image via pixabay

Image via pixabay

The five places to watch for soy are: oils, butter, soy products, breads, and emulsifiers (chocolate, powders, non-stick spray, etc). The tips below are centered around these five areas.


  • Be careful with sauces, glazes, marinades, etc. (they often contain soybean oil) A dry rub is a great alternative.
  • Be careful with fried food! (often fried in soybean oil) Some places do fry things in corn, canola, or peanut oil--don't be afraid to ask!


  • Unless you can confirm it is real butter, don't use butter!
  • Margarine is often made from soybean oil.

Soy Products:

  • Don't eat soy things! This means no soy sauce, no tofu, no miso, no edamame. Coconut Aminos are a good option!
  • Be careful with types of food that likely contain soy. (e.g., choose to cook Asian food at home where you can control the ingredients.)


  • Be careful with breads, crackers, and other bread products unless you are sure they don't contain soy.
  • Be careful with pizza unless you are sure the crust doesn't contain soy. Local, fresh made pizzas tend to be okay!
  • Be careful with baked goods! Especially those with chocolate! Choose ice cream or fresh fruit instead.


  • Be careful with chocolate! Almost all chocolate has soy lecithin in it.
  • Our best advice is to eat with caution and check the ingredients when appropriate.

What should you eat?

  • Choose fresh fruit or vegetables.
  • Choose cheese (but no crackers).
  • Choose regular potato chips (flavoring can have soy, but original or ripples are a good choice!).
  • If it is restaurant food (or catered food) try to find an allergen menu online.
  • Bring a soy-free snack along in case you can't safely eat the food.
image via pixabay

image via pixabay

Don't be afraid to ask the person who prepared or served the food about soy! Asking about food can be easy and non-threatening. 

Using the rules above, eating soy-free shouldn’t be challenging. It just takes a little more awareness of what is in each dish. You can do it!

For more Soy-Free 101 information see our Cooking Soy-Free 101 and our Baking Soy-Free 101 page and check back soon for more upcoming posts!