According to WebMD, lactose-intolerance means that "the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products." Symptoms include stomach aches, pain or cramps, and diarrhea.

If your doctor suspects your child may be lactose-intolerant, he may have you feed a dairy-free diet to your child for at least two weeks to observe any changes.

Purchasing and preparing food for children, and adults, with lactose-intolerant simply requires developing new habits, and a willingness to experiment with alternatives.

1. Check the Bold Print at the End of the Ingredients/Nutritional Guidelines

More food manufactures are including common allergens at the end of their ingredients list, and it is one way to get a quick look to see if dairy products are included. If you see other allergens like wheat and soy listed, but you don't see milk as an ingredient, it's a safe bet that the product is dairy-free. Check the detailed ingredients list to be sure.

* Lots of breads, crackers, candies, and cereals contain milk products. When purchasing processed foods, plan to spend additional time at the store checking those labels. For chocolate products, purchase products with cocoa instead of milk chocolate.

2. If You Cook, Make Most of Your Recipes Dairy-Free

Sometimes, it's nice to have the normal recipe for family members who can tolerate milk and other dairy products, but this can get to be high-maintenance. Breakfast foods like French toast, pancakes, and muffins can be made with alternatives to butter like coconut oil, olive oil, or grape seed oil, and those who don't want to miss out on the buttery taste can spread on butter before eating. A natural alternative like Earth Balance is a good choice for buttery taste, and contains healthy oils. You'll have to experiment with individual recipes to see what kind of measurement adjustments need to be made.

3. Try Rice Milks, and Nut Milks, and Soy Milk as Alternative to Cow's Milk

You can often substitute cup for cup with these. If your recipe turns out a bit crumbly, or too thin, add less alternative milk, and a bit more oil. If you need the consistency of half-and-half (cream & milk), try the new Good Karma coffee creamers. These are a handy substitute for cream, and can be used in sausage balls, mashed potatoes, and breakfast casseroles, and other recipes. Good Karma creamers come in original, vanilla, and hazelnut flavors also add a nice richness to waffles and scones.

4. Remember: Eggs Are Not Dairy Products, They Are Protein

This is a common misconception. It is good idea to clarify this when letting child-care providers know about his food intolerance.

5. Don't Make It Too Big of a Deal

Chances are, if you accept the foods your child can and cannot eat, and provide alternatives, your child will accept their lactose intolerance well. If it is discovered at a young age, a child will likely develop knowledge of their food issues early on. Make it part of life — giving it due attention for health — without overdoing it. Check natural food stores in your area for products like coconut cream ice cream, and coconut cream bars as great alternatives to send with your child to birthday parties and other special occasions.

6. Check With Your Child's Doctor About Nutrients He May Be Missing Out On

Whether or not dairy products should be a staple part of a healthy diet is debatable, but such foods do provide some essential vitamins and minerals. Your child's doctor may recommend a supplement, or an increase in other foods. While you're on the search for dairy-free foods, educate yourself on foods that will provide adequate amounts of both vitamin D and calcium.

Editor's note: I was provided samples of Good Karma Coffee Creamers to try. My experience making foods with these creamers is described honestly in this article.