Best food alternatives for lactose intolerants

Being lactose intolerant can be a brute game. It deprives you of so many types of delicacies. The nutritional importance of dairy in our diet is unfathomable. If you’re lactose intolerant, you’re missing out on the nutrition block. But guess what? It’s not the end of the world! You can replace milk and dairy products with other food alternatives with equal amounts of goodness. 

In my school days, my mother used to tirelessly compel me into drinking a glass of milk every single day. I’m sure if you go down the memory lane, you too can recall your mother chasing after you for the same. Regardless of age, milk is a food that can provide ample nourishment and strength as it is a powerhouse of nutrients. 

However, not everyone can digest it! Yes, nutrient rich food causes allergies to many. If you fall in that category, you may be having a condition called lactose intolerance. 

According to the National Academy of Sciences, USA, men between the age group of 19 and 50 years old must have 1,000mg of calcium everyday. This interpretes, 3 glasses of milk everyday.

Removing dairy from the table will deprive you of all the calcium, vitamins and potassium. 

However, swapping dairy with other food products will help you avoid lactose intolerance symptoms.

Here are some food alternatives for lactose intolerants out there:

Soy milk

Lactose intolerant food alternative soy milk

If you’re lactose intolerant yet like to have your morning cereal with a splash of milk, soy milk is your saviour. Made with soybean, soy milk is a great swap from cow’s milk as both have equal amounts of protein. An average soy milk consists of 500mg of calcium per serving. 

Coconut milk

Lactose intolerant food alternative coconut milk

If you’re looking for natural sugar, less fat and lots of sweetner in your milk, coconut milk is the option. Along with killing the symptoms of lactose intolerance, coconut milk may reduce your blood cholesterol levels and suppress appetite. Coconut milk is a great food alternative even for vegans.

However, if you want to absorb a good amount of protein, coconut milk may not be the best choice as it contains the least count of protein amongst non-dairy milk products.

There are other kinds of non-dairy milks that you can choose if you’re lactose intolerant. For lactose intolerants who are diabetic, you can make cashew milk as your go-to drink. It is also a good ingredient for baked goods and dessert. For coffee and smoothies, macadamia milk makes up a great sweetener. It contains less calories and a generous amount of unsaturated fats. 

Some of the other vegetable milks that you can try out are oats, hemp and cashew.


Eating yoghurt will lessen your symptoms of lactose intolerance as it is much easier to digest than milk. A review by the *American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that only 20% of individuals with lactose intolerance reported distress after consuming yoghurt, in contrast to 80% of individuals who experienced discomfort after drinking milk. 

Look for full fat, probiotic yoghurts as they contain live bacteria cultures which can break down lactose. On the contrary, pasteurised yoghurts do not reap any benefit for lactose intolerants as they do not have the means to break lactose.  


Lactose intolerant food alternative cheese

If you are lactose intolerant, say cheese!

As a lactose intolerant, you can still eat cheese, but with wise choices. There is a range of cheese that you can find at your local market. But, not all are lactose free. Look for hard, aged cheese as they have low lactose, compared to the creamy ones. Cheese like cheddar, parmesan and swiss have low lactose.


Trade for sorbet whenever you want to have a creamy desert, as a food alternative, on a hot summer evening. 

If you’re highly lactose intolerant, sorbet is your resort as it is a dessert which doesn’t have traces of dairy at all. Sorbet is a jolly concoction of water, fruits or puree. 

Do not eat them all at once. These guys can freeze your brains even under the scorching sun!


You cannot stop being lactose intolerant as it is an incurable condition. Cutting out and avoiding food items that contain milk or dairy products in it can eliminate the symptoms. However, avoiding food items with lactose can cause a loss to nutrients. By going for food alternatives, you can hop back onto the goodies you would’ve otherwise missed.

Moreover, do check with your doctor regarding lactose intolerance to understand the severity of it. Take a note of what can be taken to meet the nutrient requirement and enjoy a healthy life.   


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

Deepdisha Sarkar
Deepdisha Sarkar
Articles: 31
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