Enjoying an evening out with your loved ones or a business lunch break / meeting should not be something you are avoiding. With a little effort from your part it is very well manageable to dine in restaurants.
The best things is that YOU already know what lactose intolerance is. Therefore, you are responsible to treat your body and health to your best knowledge and let other people know how they can best help you. After all the client is the king.
There are several things to consider when choosing a restaurant. While I did say everything is possible if you choose to have a romantic dinner at a traditional Swiss restaurant…. Well let me tell you our cuisine is full of cheese, cream, butter and chocolate. Not the smartest choice but not impossible!
If you have any saying in where you are going to eat make sure it will accommodate your dietary needs.
Here are my top choices for easy navigation around your intolerance
Since Italian traditionally cook with olive oil and not butter it is no surprise that it’s my go-to cuisine.
They have a great variety of salads and as it is custom in Italy you can make your own dressing from olive oil and aceto balsamico.
Many pasta dishes such as arrabbiata, bolognese, pesto Genovese (make sure it made without parmigiano), aglio e olio, vongole should not have any cream or butter in it.
Fancy a pizza? Just ask that the mozzarella cheese is not added to the pizza. While it is not exactly the same taste it is still delicious and good for you.
(If you chose any kind of charcuterie or prosciutto ask them to check with the cook. Very often lactose can be found in such ingredients.)
Another great almost fool proof cuisine, especially Thai food
When choosing a curry dish make sure that it is made of 100 % coconut milk and not mixed with milk.
Otherwise, there are endless options in Asian restaurants that you can eat worry-free.
Even though those options are pretty safe please make sure to follow these rules no matter what:
- Always ask whether or not the dish contains any lactose
- Many restaurants have started to include a small menu with gluten free and/or lactose free dishes which will make it much easier for you to choose. If the restaurant does not offer lactose free options on the menu, inform the kitchen of your intolerance
- Ask for dressing on the side… just in case the cook forgot (it happens)
- Avoid fried foods! They contain lots of fat and unknown ingredients (one of the ingredients is most probably lactose which is being used to preserve)
Still uncomfortable about eating out?
I have two 100 % fool proof-solutions
Even if you do not keep kosher for religious reasons there is no one from stopping you to dine in kosher restaurants. Being very strict about not mixing dairy and meat you will not have to worry about a thing. Even the desert are ALL dairy free!
This one is pretty much self-explanatory! Vegans stay clear of all animal products. Meaning that you will never encounter any lactose.
FAMILY / FRIENDS
Are you invited to a family dinner or birthday celebration? Depending on how well you know the host you can inform them of your intolerance. What they do with this information is up to them. I myself have received all kinds of responses from “Yes sure no problem we will do something for you especially” to “If I would consider all the intolerances, allergies, vegans, vegetarians, meat lovers, pasta haters I will never be finished with cooking”. Whatever the response, accept for what it is and have a fun evening.
- Take responsibility and ask the host yourself when unsure of the ingredients
- Offer to bring desert or a salad. This way you are sure to be able to eat something that evening
- If you are using pills or drops make sure you do not forget them and enjoy a hassle free dinner
Lastly, never be afraid of asking too many questions or double checking with the waiter or friend. The awareness of lactose intolerance is a fast growing trend and there are more and more restaurants that give their best to accommodate and respect such dietary needs.