February is Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month and recently, I had the pleasure of attending the #LoveDairyAgain culinary event hosted by The Dairy Alliance. Each item on the menu featured lactose-free or low-lactose dairy foods, including a delicious Moo-tini, Cheddar Fondue, Buffalo Spicy Chicken with Yogurt Bleu Cheese Slaw, and Vanilla Lovers Cupcake with lactose-free ice cream. It’s official….I’m in LOVE with dairy!
Breakups are hard but believe me when I say, there’s no reason to break up with dairy foods because you’re lactose intolerant! You can keep on loving dairy, and maybe find new dairy products to enjoy, without experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Here are 5 Reasons To Love Dairy Again:
- There are lactose-free options for all dairy foods so there’s no need end the relationship with dairy. Whether it’s cheese, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, or milk, lactose-free dairy products are just as tasty and nutritious!
- Some dairy foods are naturally lactose-free or very low in lactose like hard cheeses (think Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan), yogurts with live, active cultures, and cottage cheese.
- Most people with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate 4 grams of lactose at a meal without experiencing any symptoms.
- If you’re lactose intolerant, don’t break up with dairy milk for plant-based milks because they don’t compare nutritionally! Cow’s milk is the best source for the health benefits of dairy, such as phosphorus, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and calcium. Lactose-free dairy milk is real milk just without the lactose, so it provides the same excellent nutrition as conventional milk.
- Trying lactose-free recipes and pairing dairy foods with non-dairy foods can also help minimize any symptoms of lactose intolerance. Enjoy a glass of chocolate milk with your morning bowl of oatmeal or have string cheese plus fresh fruit as an afternoon snack. Dairy foods make a great partner with all the other food groups!
If you and dairy have been separated for a while because you thought it had to be avoided, start slowly by reintroducing dairy products into your diet. Try cooking with dairy, choosing low-lactose or lactose-free foods, or pairing dairy foods with other non-dairy foods to get started. Read through these additional tips to help you manage lactose intolerance.
Karman Meyer is a registered dietitian/nutritionist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Teaching people easy ways to implement healthy changes into their lifestyle is her passion. Karman blogs at The Nutrition Adventure and is an experienced recipe developer, nutrition writer, and public speaker.