If you’re lactose intolerant, you may have a mental list of the foods you can’t enjoy. If that’s true, here’s some good news: There are a number of practical steps you can take that can help you enjoy your favorite dairy foods every day without experiencing any discomfort.
Here are five ways you can reintroduce your favorite dairy products back into your diet:
Try It: The next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a carton of lactose-free milk. Lactose-free milk and other lactose-free dairy products are real milk products and provide the same nutrients; they simply don’t contain lactose.
If you’re new to lactose-free milk, here’s a tip. Since it’s slightly sweeter than regular milk, it can be a delicious addition to tea, coffee, hot cocoa or cereal, which pair nicely with the slightly sweeter flavor.
Sip It: Start drinking a small amount of milk daily. Over the next few days or weeks, gradually increase the amount you’re drinking to build tolerance.
Slice or Shred It: When milk is made into cheese, most of the lactose is taken out. Some cheeses that are low in lactose include Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss. Shredding these cheeses on your veggies, pasta or salad is an easy and tasty way to enjoy dairy that’s low in lactose.
Spoon It: Try adding more yogurt to your diet. There are live and active cultures in yogurt that help digest lactose.
Make It Easy: If you just can’t resist your favorite food or if you want to be extra careful, look for lactase enzyme tablets the next time you’re at your local drugstore. Take them at the beginning of your meal; they can help you digest lactose easily.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that these tips may not apply to everyone. If you think you may be lactose intolerant, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and follow your doctor’s advice to make sure you’re doing what’s right for your body.
Have more questions about lactose intolerance? Check out this infographic.