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Lactose-Free Diabetic Diet

A Meal Plan Example for the Diabetic with Lactose Intolerance


Updated June 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Low-fat dairy products are a traditional component of diabetic meal plans. They are natural "combination" foods, providing approximately 12 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protein per serving. No other food group provides almost equivalent amounts of carbohydrates and protein.

If you are a lactose-intolerant diabetic, you clearly can't use low-fat dairy products to round-out your meal plans. Here's what you can do:

  • Substitute lactose-free dairy products in meal plans that contain dairy.
  • Leave dairy out of the meal plan (and ask your doctor or dietitian about how much calcium and vitamin D to supplement daily).

A lactose-free diabetic diet should have the same nutrition goals as one that contains milk, though:

  • 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal
  • 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate per evening snack
  • 50% of total daily calories from carbohydrate, 20% calories from protein, and 30% calories from fat (7% from saturated fat)

If you are very sensitive to lactose, remember to always scan ingredient lists on packaged foods for ingredients that indicate lactose:

  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Caseinates
  • Lactose
  • Nougat
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Curds
  • Milk by-products
  • Nonfat dry milk
  • Dry milk solids
  • Dry milk powder

Here is an example of a lactose-free diabetic meal plan that contains: 1547 calories -- 49% calories from carbohydrate, and 26% calories from fat.


  • 2 slices of whole wheat toast
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 small banana
  • Coffee with non-dairy creamer


  • Veggie burger
  • 1/2 6" pita
  • 2 Tbsp of avocado
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup raw baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup hummus


  • 3oz grilled flank steak
  • 1 cup raw green beans
  • 1 cup mixed lettuce greens
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-fat salad dressing
  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 6 chopped almonds


  • 1/2 cup tuna salad
  • 5 whole wheat crackers
  • 1 plum

Tips for Diabetic Meal Planning:

Guidelines for Making Diabetes Diet-Approved Meals

Two Meal Planning Methods and a Sample Meal Plan

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