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.)