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5 Tips for Handling Lactose Intolerance

5 Tips for Handling Lactose Intolerance

Is someone in your family lactose intolerant? As resourceful Circle of Moms members prove, your brood doesn't have to give up dairy. There are many ways to continue enjoying nutritional standbys like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Here are five tips to help you manage lactose intolerance without depriving your family of their favorites.

1. Substitute Lactose-Free Cow’s Milk

Lactose-free cow's milk can be used any way that regular cow’s milk can — drink it alone, pour it over cereal, or sub it into any recipe that calls for milk. As mother-of-four Kristel F. shares: “When cooking something with milk for the family, just replace it with Lactaid milk … It doesn't taste any different in recipes! Trust me I am a picky eater myself!”

2. Choose Hard Cheeses over Soft Cheeses

You may be surprised to learn that harder cheeses are actually low in lactose! As Jennifer R., whose husband is lactose intolerant, shares: "Do some research on good cheeses: We learned that some cheeses are naturally low in lactose and therefore don't irritate him. One is Manchego cheese, aged 12 months (the longer it's aged the less lactose it has)." Jennifer N. notes that cheddar is another low-lactose cheese.

3. Seek Out Lactose-free Dairy Products in the Grocery Store

Many reduced-lactose or lactose-free dairy products are now widely available in supermarkets. Circle of Moms members say the lactose-free half-and-half, ice cream, cheese (including cottage cheese), and eggnog are all very tasty.

4. Take Enzyme Supplement Pills

Is your family headed out to a social function where dairy foods are likely to be on the menu? Another tactic many Circle of Moms members recommend is to take a supplement before the first bite or sip of dairy to help the body digest lactose. As Jody K. advises: “You can try Lactaid or another dairy enzyme supplement.” Jennifer R. seconds the suggestion: "When going to a dinner party, [my husband] eats a bit before we go in case he can't eat everything, AND he brings a Lactaid pill."

5. Experiment with Other Milks

In addition to lactose-free cow’s milk, Circle of Moms members also suggest other lactose-free "milks" such as almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and hemp milk, many of which come in a variety of flavors including vanilla and chocolate. As Julie T. shares of her husband: "One trick he's found useful is to pick the flavored soy milk (chocolate, banana...)." And Jill T. offers an endorsement from her kids: "Both of my boys drink vanilla almond milk & LOVE it!" (Keep in mind that lactose-free cow's milk provides the body with more calcium and vitamin D than these milk alternatives.)

Image Source: iStock photo

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GingerPark GingerPark 4 years
Mary, I use a lot of Tofutti products. They make a fantastic cream cheese alternative and a sour cream alternative that both my kids can digest and love. My kids love eating "cream cheese" tortillas" or I give them the cream cheese to dip crackers and veggies in along with peanut butter.Toffuti "ice cream" sandwiches are delicious. I use a lactose free milk to cook with and my kids drink "Rice Dream." They can enjoy mac and cheese as long as it is Kraft's b/c the powdered cheese does not have a lot of lactose in in. I prepare it with lactose free milk.
AbbieStewart AbbieStewart 4 years
For Mary Kristy: We're fortunate to live at a time when many milk alternatives are available and product ingredient labelling has improved. My daughter and husband are anaphylactic to dairy. My daughter is also allergic to eggs. Many dairy free recipes can be found on-line or old recipes can be used with substitutions of almond, soy, or rice milk, and diary-free margarine. A favourite of mine: hummus, avocado wraps. Use burrito or taco wraps, paste with hummus, avocodo (or any other veggies could be used, like cucumber). Roll it up. My daughter loves it! Unfortunately, any recipes or snacks with cheese are out of the question. I have not found an adequate (or likeable) substitute for cheese.
CoMMember13629119555571 CoMMember13629119555571 4 years
Great information on cooking lactose-free! It sounds so daunting when you first have to cook this way but it's actually incredibly easy. Thanks for the great information!
MaryChristy MaryChristy 4 years
My son is 2 and allergic to the protein in milk, not lactose. If anyone has any advice for good dairy alternatives I would love it. He loves almond and coconut milk, but I still feel pretty limited with what I can give him for meals and snacks.
deeMiller65027 deeMiller65027 4 years
lots of good ideas there, for some reason my girls (ages 4 & 6 cannot handle the 'lactose free' milk ... rthere are 2 possible agravating factors in cows milk that can irritate children -allergic reaction and the inablility to digest it. Even yogurt is not OK with them. school lunches are a challenge - try making lunches with no lactose AND no peanut ingredients. home made desserts made with soya or almond milk like puddings, omlettes can be made with a bit of water instead of milk added. and sherbet is a good alternative to ice-cream if you cant handle any quantity of dairy at all.some things we just dont keep in the house..like KD
TrishaSterling TrishaSterling 4 years
My three daughters and I are all lactose intolerant. We take Digestive Advantage Lactose Intolerance in the morning and can eat all day without a worry of getting ill. You need to be so careful because lactose is in so many foods and non-foods like Pop Rocks and in prescriptions as fillers.
JulieSullivan3861 JulieSullivan3861 4 years
Extremely helpful information. My husband and 4 of our 7 children are lactose intolerant. Some stuff I had learned over the last 9 years, but I wasn't aware of all the products that are made lactose free now so I'll have to look for them, especially the cottage cheese because my husband loves it.
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