Best Dairy Milk Alternatives
By: Kayla Brown
Milk better watch its back, because it has some serious competition these days. Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply a cow lover, here are a few non-dairy milk options to consider! Be sure to speak with your doctor before incorporating any dairy alternative into your life.
The advantages and disadvantages of soy have been debated for years, but what we do know for sure is that it is the least processed of all dairy substitutes and the highest in protein. It is also low in saturated fat and contains a good amount of potassium. Plus, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on. Be wary of flavors like vanilla to avoid extra grams of unnecessary sugar.
For those who receive the majority of their protein from diary milk, soy milk is a useful substitute.
By far the most popular these days, almond milk is highly talked about and preferred. Almond milk is typically low in calories. And though almonds are high in calcium, vitamin E, iron, fiber, zinc and many more nutritious vitamins, the average carton of almond milk only contains a little over a handful of almonds. So don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be receiving all of the same nutrients in a glass of almond milk as you would eating a handful of almonds. However, it is a great tasting dairy milk substitute. Just as you would with soy, be extremely cautious of the flavored options. Opt for the unsweetened to avoid loads of sugar.
Almond milk is a great option for those who currently maintain a healthy amount of protein through sources other than milk.
Cashews are another nut alternative gaining popularity. But like almonds, cashews aren’t necessarily the best alternative if you get your majority of calcium by drinking milk. However, cashew milk is a great source of antioxidants, magnesium and fiber.
If you normally use milk for creamers or to add a little bit of flavor to your coffee, cashew milk is a great option! For those of you who have gluten sensitivity or on the fence about soy milk, cashew milk can be used for baking or delightfully in your cereal.
High in MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) that are easily burned as fuel by your body, coconut milk is an excellent nutritional option. But because coconut milk is also high in fat (the healthy kind), it should probably be consumed in moderation rather than a full glass with breakfast every morning. Like all sweetened forms of dairy substitutes, stick with unsweetened to cut your sugar intake.
Because it’s free from dairy, soy, nuts and lactose, it’s a great choice for anyone with serious allergens and vegan or plant based diets. If you love cream and whole milk, then you’ll enjoy coconut milk’s thick texture.
When looking at nutritional value, rice comes in last place. Rice milk is made from boiled rice, which is starchy, high in sugar and low in protein. It is another allergy-friendly dairy alternative, so it’s worth a try if you are sensitive to the other options on this list.
Rice milk is an okay choice when used sparingly for baking (it holds up well under heat). Choose options that are low in sugar and organic!
Probably the most questionable of all diary alternatives, hemp milk actually packs a powerful punch of nutrients. Made from the seeds of the hemp plant, it does not contain enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to cause any psychoactive affects. Nutritious benefits include: omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E and zinc.
If you’ve tried all of the other options, and are looking for something new and nutritious, I suggest giving hemp milk a try.
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