Make up the difference in calcium and vitamin D with this delicious lactose intolerance meal plan

  • 2 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

If milk and other dairy products cause you tummy troubles, look no further, for we share our dietitian-approved lactose intolerance meal plan right here! It more than makes up for missing calcium and vitamin D otherwise sidelined when you swear off dairy.

Lactose intolerance meal plan

Why a lactose intolerance meal plan may help you feel better

A relatively common condition, lactose intolerance occurs when the body does not produce enough of the gut enzyme lactase to break down the lactose or sugar in milk. Lactose is found in milk from all mammals, including human breast milk. Although babies tolerate lactose (except for those with certain rare genetic diseases), many become lactose intolerant by adulthood. Worldwide, it is likely that the majority of adults have some degree of lactose intolerance.

Many people with lactose intolerance experience stomach/abdominal pain, nausea, gas, and diarrhea after eating foods with significant lactose. While avoiding milk and milk products may help your stomach feel better, you'll miss out on excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D.

One cup of milk contains about 12 grams of lactose and about 300 mg of calcium, which is 30% of the 1000 mg RDA for most adults (postmenopausal women need 1200 mg of calcium).

These milk products are rich sources of vitamin D and calcium and contain very little lactose

Many individuals with lactose intolerance can tolerate some lactose from food. In fact, many people may be able to consume up to 12g of lactose at a meal without experiencing symptoms.

Avoiding dairy foods altogether? Include these lactose-free foods

If you find even small amounts of lactose bothersome, try these alternatives, which provide calcium and vitamin D. Add these to your menu when you need to plan a meal that manages your lactose intolerance.

*These foods also contain antinutrients (phytic and oxalic acid), which bind with calcium and reduce absorption.

A one-day lactose intolerance meal plan containing 1,350 mg calcium. Now that's a huge boost!

Enjoy this delicious day's worth of eating-dairy-free, egg-free, and easily made gluten-free. Best of all, it catapults your calcium safely beyond the daily requirement!


Oatmeal with chia seeds, fortified plant milk, and fresh fruit


Mixed greens salad topped with canned salmon and olive oil dressing with whole-grain crackers with hummus on the side


Fortified coconut milk yogurt topped with fresh berries


Tofu stir-fry with bok choy over brown rice

Track your calcium and vitamin D intake with MyNetDiary

Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you suspect that lactose-containing foods are causing you grief. Keep a food record as a tool to help you identify which foods and in what quantities seem to be associated with fewer or greater symptoms of lactose intolerance. You may find that swapping out some lower lactose foods helps you feel better.

Make sure to track your intake using an app like MyNetDiary to confirm you are meeting your daily requirements for calcium. You can also use our Premium Recipes to help you find more options for a lactose intolerance meal plan.

Reviewed and updated by Joanna Kriehn MS, RDN, CDCES, on June 18, 2021.

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Foods & Recipes->Dairy Foods Nutrients->Calcium Nutrients->Protein
Jun 21, 2021

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