A Beginner’s Guide to Living with Lactose Intolerance

Note: This sponsored post was written while participating in my partnership with National Dairy Council and One2One Network, but all opinions are my own.

I love breakfast foods, but rarely eat any of them for breakfast. When I first wake up, I can’t handle a heavy meal, so I rely on my daily bowl of cereal. So when I was a teenager & discovered I was suddenly lactose intolerant, I had no idea what to do!

Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal

Luckily, I quickly discovered that lactose intolerance is a very common condition {about 10% of people have some degree of it} &because of that, options were available. Many dairy products are available in lactose-free versions, such as LACTAID milk {which is what allows me to still wake up to a bowl of Captain Crunch whole wheat cereal}. You can even use LACTAID just like traditional cow’s milk in recipes so you don’t have to give up any of your favorite dishes, either.

Lactose intolerance is not always something you are born with- like I said, I developed it as a teenager. Since it’s not an actual allergy but rather an inability to digest the lactose in dairy products, there is a whole spectrum of levels of sensitivity. I find that I can not tolerate cow’s milk, but that I have no problem with yogurt. I can have cheese and ice cream, but not in large quantities. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, the National Dairy Council suggests some steps you can take to make sure you can still enjoy your favorite foods:

A Beginner's Guide to Lactose Intolerance

• Try It. Opt for lactose-free dairy milk and milk products. They are real dairy milk products, just without the lactose. They taste great and provide the same nutrients as regular dairy foods.
• Sip It. Start with a small amount of milk daily and increase slowly over several days or weeks to determine tolerance.
• Stir It. Mix milk with other foods, such as soups and cereal/oatmeal; blend with fruit or drink milk with meals. Solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose.
• Slice It. Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby,
Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss. These cheeses contain small amounts of lactose.
• Shred It. Shred your favorite natural cheese onto veggies, pastas and salads. It’s an
easy way to get the nutrients and benefits of dairy and it contains minimal amounts of
• Spoon It. Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt. The live and active cultures in yogurt – both
regular and Greek style – help to digest lactose.

If you’re just developing your intolerance, it might also help to keep a food journal {download one for free here} to track what symptoms you get after eating certain foods. You don’t need to cut out dairy entirely- and shouldn’t, because it’s important for a balanced diet and most dairy products are a great source of calcium & several different vitamins. {&A world without ice cream is not one I want to live in!}

Lactose Intolerance: 5 things you need to know

{Click to enlarge}

To learn more about lactose intolerance, be sure to check out the National Dairy Council’s resource page!

Do you know someone who is lactose intolerant?


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  1. I would hate to be lactose intolerant! Great tips for those who are.
    Raijean recently posted..Movie Report: Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY x Meet the Guardians

  2. What an excellent resource!
    Penelope Guzman (NYC Blogger) recently posted..Letters To My Sons – March 2014

  3. I know of someone who is allergic to dairy, not lactose intolerant. I couldn’t imagine being allergic or lactose intolerant.
    Theresa @ Faith and Family Reviews recently posted..Carter’s Baby and Kid Up to 50% Off Sale Plus $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

  4. AS I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that I have slight intolerance for lactose and have greatly reduced the amount of dairy I consume, otherwise, depending on what I eat, I fee l miserable afterward. I’ve never really tried any of the lactose-free dairy products because I was under the assumption they weren’t “real” dairy, but after reading your infographic, I might try something like Lactaid and see how I like it.
    Audrey at Barking Mad! recently posted..Johnny’s Not a Bad Kid, He Just Wasn’t Diagnosed Properly #preventFASD

  5. What a great post! I wouldn’t even know where to start if I had to be lactose free!! I pinned it to so hopefully the people that need this post will be able to find it!
    Alison recently posted..Get Your Kid Ready for the Gold Medal with These Netflix Titles

  6. this is a great post, we live with it too.
    susan recently posted..Check out these great products from the new line from Disney, The Pirate Fairy #piratefairybloggers

  7. Fortunately, I have no problem with lactose intolerance. But I have family that do and they either avoid it or use Lactaid.
    Angela recently posted..Pie for Dinner? A Collection of 12 Savory Pies

  8. We suspect that Mike is borderline intolerant so we have tried to cut a lot of dairy out of our diet. I have not yet tried lactaid or anything yet though. That may be our next step.
    Lynsey @MoscatoMom recently posted..The Pirate Fairy – Movie, Toys, Books and More! #PirateFairyBloggers

  9. It seems like so many people are lactose intolerant. These are great tips on how to deal wit h it.
    Tiff @ Babes and Kids recently posted..Training for a Marathon After Baby

  10. My husbands family has a lot of lactose intolerance issues. My husband tries to avoid milk and milk related products in general but my niece has it a lot harder and has to make substitutions.
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  11. Our daughter is lactose intolerant. We can always tell when she’s been out and hasn’t taken a lactose pill or has had too much dairy. We keep the “bucket” close by for those occasions!
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  12. WOW! Such a comprehensive post! Thanks for sharing!
    Lara recently posted..Blogger Tax Tips: 14 Things You Should Know Before Filing

  13. I’ve always thought I had a slight lactose intolerance as I sometimes have a reaction after drinking a good bit of dairy. I’ve made the switch to usually drinking almond or coconut milk and it seems to help a lot!
    Michelle recently posted..Free Family Finance E-Guide from Share the Word Financial Empowerment

  14. I spent most of my life believing I was lactose intollerant but in reality I was allergic to whey which is why I can’t seem to eat any dairy products. :(
    Cat Davis recently posted..Lightened Up Pistachio Milkshake Recipe with St. Patrick’s Day Straw Toppers

  15. My s-i-l is lactose intolerant and a good friend of mine’s daughter is allergic to dairy (she has to have an epi-pen readily available). This is great information for anyone discovering they are lactose intolerant or have a child who is.
    Donna recently posted..25 St. Patrick’s Day Dessert Recipe Ideas

  16. the “dancing cow” milk! my sister-in-law is lactose intolerant and drinks lactaid and my boys love the dancing cow :). breyers even makes a lactose free ice cream!
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  17. My husband and daughter are both slightly lactose intolerant. They’re like you, where they can’t really drink much milk but can eat small amounts of ice cream or cheese.
    Jenn recently posted..The Walgreens Race Around America is On! #RaceAroundAmerica

  18. I avoid milk and try my best to avoid anything with milk in it much as possible. I’m very lactose intolerant – I break out really bad and get so bloated – definitely not fun! Like you, I developed this when I was a teenager (used to love the heck out of milk). The same goes for soy products, but I have found that flaxseed milk works the best for me.
    HilLesha recently posted..Wanderlust for “Tropical” Pies

  19. My mother, husband & best friend are all lactose intolerant, but can all have a little milk & yogurt doesn’t bother them.
    Robin Gagnon recently posted..Celebrate Pi Day with 12 Pies that Won’t Make You Pudgy!

  20. My son dealt with lactose intolerance as an infant…. it just scalded him horribly. Now, as he has grown, he can eat cheeses but that was about it. Much the same as you…
    Rachel @ Following In My Shoes recently posted..Weekend Dish: I Need A Cleaning Fairy

  21. Great tips! i have to be very careful with the dairy that I consume. This is great info
    Tammilee recently posted..Taking a step back in time on the Oregon Trail

  22. My husband deals with lactose intolerance and he loves dairy products. He deals when he caves but otherwise he tries to avoide it.
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  23. My hubby and I are both slightly lactose intolerant. Not terribly but with certain things we get a stomach ache.
    Sarah @ Must Have Mom recently posted..How To Keep Track Of Passwords Securely (And For Free!)

  24. I have a family member who is lactose intolerant. Its really important to be aware so I can best help them.
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  25. I didn’t get it until my kids were older. My daughter has it and is fine now by drinking soy milk.
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..Healthy Snack Alternatives to Junk Food for Kids

  26. Great information to have!!
    Michelle recently posted..National School Breakfast Week March 3 – 8

  27. I’m so thankful that I don’t have any problems with lactose, but it’s good to know there are so many great options if it ever develops.
    Mickey recently posted..Diaper Changing – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  28. This is really great info! I’m a labor doula, and I find that a lot of my clients, even though they aren’t lactose intolerant, when they breastfeed, they find out their little ones are, so they have to cut back. Thank you for posting this!

  29. My husband is lactose intolerant. He jokingly says it my fault because I noticed his symptoms. Over the years he’s become more and more sensitive to soft cheeses and yogurt which is such a shame.
    Lucero @We Are Earthformed recently posted..Never Lose Your Stuff Sweepstakes from Bungeetags.com, ends 3/14

  30. My sister is lactose intolerant. I need to share these tips with her.
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  31. We thought my daughter had it for a while so we tried many different substitutions. Lactaid and Kraft shredded cheese were among our favorite lactose-free items!
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  32. I love to see all the resources out there for those who suffer with lactose intolerance.
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