I am lactose intolerant and need to find some breakfast options. What do you suggest that tastes good, is good for you, and is easy to make?
Welcome to the Lactose Intolerance Club. If it makes you feel any better, there are over 30 million other members who have difficulty digesting the milk sugar called lactose.
Just so you understand what’s going on, being lactose intolerant means that you have an inadequate amount of the digestive enzyme lactase. Because there isn’t enough of this enzyme to break down all the lactose, it ends up in the colon. There, bacteria have a field day chomping away at the sugary lactose (sort of like a kid let loose in a candy store). Bacteria ferment the lactose, which produces annoying by-products such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea. (Yuck.)
Here’s the good news: You may not have to give up milk altogether. While some sufferers experience problems when they down milk all by itself, drinking it with a meal or snack may change the situation entirely. Pouring milk on your cereal and enjoying it with some fruit and toast with margarine may be tolerable. The amount of milk you can comfortably enjoy varies from person to person. So start with a small amount and gradually increase it to find your “comfort” level.
You could also buy lactose-treated milk in the supermarket. This milk can have up to 100% of the lactose broken down. Also, yogurt that contains active cultures comes with its own lactose-eating bacteria right in the container. The bacteria will do some of the work that your body can’t. Yogurt topped with cereal is another quick morning starter. Also, aged cheeses such as cheddar and Swiss have less lactose. Try a cheese melt first thing in the morning: Look for the low-fat variety.
You might want to consider getting lactase supplements in your local drug store to take before you eat a meal that contains dairy products. These supplements help your body break down the lactose in food.