February is Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month. Being lactose intolerant doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your favorite dairy foods and the health benefits that come with them.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a group of digestive symptoms that occur when your body cannot properly break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down and helps the body absorb lactose. This undigested lactose moves to the large intestine where it can cause uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, cramping, gas, or diarrhea.
What can I eat if I’m lactose intolerant?
Luckily, lactose intolerance doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all your favorite dairy foods. Lactose intolerance is an individualized condition, and most people can still enjoy dairy foods by drinking lactose-free cow’s milk and choosing natural cheeses and yogurts. Lactose-free cow’s milk contains the same 13 essential nutrients, including calcium, protein, and vitamin D, as regular cow’s milk, just without the lactose.
Check out some of our favorite lactose intolerant-friendly recipes
Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Bites – Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and swiss are naturally low in lactose. When cheese is made, the curd is separated from the whey (where most of the lactose is found). The minimal lactose left in the curd breaks down considerably as the cheese ages.
Cranberry Apple Compote Yogurt Parfait – The live cultures in yogurt may help break down some of the lactose, making it easier to digest.
Lactose-Free Chai Milkshake – This milkshake from our friends at Beckon Ice Cream contains both lactose-free ice cream AND lactose-free milk, giving you a double dose of delicious dairy, just without the lactose.
Baked Chicken Florentine – A quick and easy main dish that can be made with naturally low-lactose cheddar.