Lactose-free foods are those that have no lactose, a sugar most commonly found in dairy products, according to Drugs.com. Common lactose-free foods include meats, eggs, nuts, fats, tofu, vegetables and fruits. Other items such as French or Italian breads, broths, sorbets and pastas are typically made without the use of lactose-containing products. Rice, whole grains and some cereals are also lactose free.
It is important to read labels to determine if lactose is present in an item when following a lactose-free diet, according to Drugs.com. While some products explicitly state that they contain milk and common milk products, others contain only derivatives of milk products that are not commonly known. However, labels must include that they contain milk products at the end of the ingredient list. Lactose is found in products such as milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, kefir and yogurt. It is also found in a variety of other products and processed foods such as dressings, shortenings, baked goods, smoothies, processed meats, cream sauces, battered meats and nondairy creamers.
Many lactose-free substitutions can be used in place of common lactose-containing products called for in recipes. Cow's milk can be substituted with lactose-free milk, soy milk or rice milk. Hard, aged cheeses generally contain much less lactose than soft and processed cheeses. Soy cheeses are completely lactose free. Many lactose-free products are available at specialty and natural food stores.