People ditch dairy for differing reasons. Some folks are lactose intolerant. Others want to reduce their carbon footprint. Some simply desire a slightly different taste. Thankfully, no matter what your reason might be, there is bound to be a milk option for you. Be warned, however. Not all milk alternatives are created equal. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand what your options are, so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.
4 Alternatives to Milk:
Soy has long-been a top choice of milk forgoers. It contains a natural source of iron, which traditional milk lacks. Soy milk also includes more protein than any other non-dairy drink. It can lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol, which is yet another plus. It usually has about 90-110 calories and 6-7 grams of protein per cup.
Being popular, soy milk comes in an array flavors and is offered by many different brands. If you’ve tried soy milk in the past, and it wasn’t your favorite, don’t give up. Test another brand because you may be surprised by how much the taste can vary from brand to brand. Some brands strive to taste more like cow’s milk than others, and some brands are thicker than others. Just remember, soy milk will generally have a thicker, richer consistency than cow milk.
Unfortunately, soy does have its downfalls. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which when consumed in large quantities may have harmful health effects. Soy also contains non-digestible carbohydrates that are not harmful, but may cause discomfort in certain consumers while the stomach is digesting. Doctors and scientists to agree, however, that it is safe to drink up to a few cupfuls of soy milk each day.
Hemp milk comes from shelled hempseeds, so it contains high Omega-3 fat content. Natural Omega fats help support strong bones and a healthy heart. Hemp milk can also do wonders for maintaining a sharp mind. It is free of lactose, gluten, and the non-digestible carbohydrates that appear in soy milk. In addition, hemp milk contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is thought to protect against inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Hemp milk usually has around 110-130 calories and 4-5 grams of protein per cup.
Hemp milk has a distinct nutty flavor. It is still rich, but creamier than soy. Hemp milk is offered in different varieties, like vanilla and chocolate. Just remember to shake well hemp milk well before drinking! If not properly shaken, the milk may taste watered-down.
As of now, we do not know of any major downsides to hemp. It contains a solid amount of protein, although not as much as soy. Mostly, the issue is taste. If you are looking for a beverage similar to cow’s milk, then the nutty flavor found in hemp milk may be too overwhelming.
Almond milk comes from ground almonds and filtered water. It is much lower in calories than both soy and hemp milk. The almonds provide magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, antioxidants, and calcium. Almond milk contains about 45 calories and 1-2 grams of protein per cup.
The taste of almond milk is somewhat nutty, but it is not as distinct as the taste of hemp. The consistency is creamy and similar to that of soy milk. Almond milk is especially good for cooking because it does not curdle at high temperatures.
The worst thing about almond milk is that it contains significantly less protein than its counterparts. Be wary of sweetened versions, too, because they contain hidden sugars.
Coconut Milk is made from pressing ripe coconut meat and contains many complex carbohydrates. It is a great milk substitute in any recipe, but should be used in moderation due to its high fat content. One cup of coconut milk (240 g) contains about 57 grams of fat, 51 of which are saturated fats. Coconut milk contains over 100% daily value of magnesium, though, and it is a great source of phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C.
Coconut milk has a slight coconut taste, and it is richer than other milk substitutes because of its high fat content.
All in all, coconut milk is great for baking and using as a milk alternative, but should be used cautiously because of its high levels of saturated fat.
So, which type of milk substitute is best?
When it comes to ditching dairy, there is no option that will work for everyone. It is best to experiment and select the option that works well for you. Try different types of milk substitutes, and sample different brands to see which is right for you. With the multitude of choices out there, you should be able to find one that you love. For more great milk-alternative products, visit here!