By: Nikki Nies
For hundreds of years, milk derived from animals only, such as cow’s, sheep and goat. Yet, with lactose intolerance, maldigestion and the preference for non-dairy sources of milk emerging in recent years, the market and need for milk substitutes as increased multifold. Like there are differences in whole milk, 2% and skim milk, the nutrition content, flavor, color and texture of non-dairy milks–soy, rice, oat, 7 grain, hazelnut, hemp, almond and coconut vary.
|Milk Type||Description||Texture/consistency||Nutrients–1 cup||Use|
|Whole||great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium||147 calories; 8.1 g fat; 98 mg sodium; 12.9 g carbs; 12.9 g sugar; 7.9 g protein; 276 mg calcium; 349.4 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D|
|1%||great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium||91 calories; 0.7 g fat; 130 mg sodium; 12.3 g carbs; 12.3 g sugar; 8.7 g protein; 316.2 mg calcium; 419.1 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D|
|Soy–plain||obtained from soy bean; closest option to cow’s milk; contains vitamin B12 and D; processed; can be high in sugar; comes in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties such as chocolate and vanilla||creamy||100 calories; 4 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 8 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 7 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 300 mg potassium; 119 IU vitamin D||vegan–baking, coffee, as is, cereal|
|Almond||made from ground almonds, water and sweetener; has ⅓ of calories as 2% milk; magnesium and protein content is good for bone strength; contains less sugar than soy or rice milk; tends to be high in sodium; contains vitamins A, D & E; low in protein; higher in fat than skim milk||thick||60 calories; 2.5 g fat; 150 mg sodium; 8 g cars; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 200 mg calcium; 180 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D||cereal, coffee, sipping, baking|
|Coconut||richest, creamiest of all milk alternatives; when purchased in a carton, tends to have a lower fat content and is not as creamy as in can form; high in saturated fat and calories||thick, creamy||80 calories; 5 g fat; 30 mg sodium; 7 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 1 g protein; 450 g calcium; 40 g potassium; 100 IU vitamin D||ice cream, Thai curry, moistens cakes; coffee; tea|
|Hemp||best for those with nut or soy allergies; rich in omega 3 fatty acids; low in saturated fat; mixture of hemp seeds and water; contains essential amino acids; fortified with vitamin D and A; low in protein||thick, creamy; “earthy”||100 g calories; 6 g fat; 110 mg sodium; 9 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein; 300 mg calcium; N/A potassium; 100 IU vitamin D||smoothies; porridge; baking; cereals|
|7 Grain–original||Oats, Brown Rice, Wheat, Barley, Triticale, Spelt and Millet||thin||140 calories; 2 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium; 125 mg potassium||biscuits, smoothies and cereals|
|Hazelnut||considered “more agreeable” in flavor with coffee; supposedly “froths” better||thin||110 calories; 3.5 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 16 g carbs; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein||coffee, baking, vegan cooking|
|Oat||Void of cholesterol and saturated fats; high in fiber, iron; contains phytochemicals, which can protect against heart disease and some cancers; must be avoided by those that need to adhere to gluten free diet||thick and grainy||130 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbs; 110 mg sodium; 19 g sugar; 120 mg potassium||on its own as a beverage, cereal, gravy, cupcakes, hearty cookies|
|Rice||most hypoallergenic option of all milk alternatives; good for blood pressure due to niacin and vitamin B6 content; low in protein; not recommended for diabetics; highly starchy; often enriched with calcium, vitamin A & D||watery, thin||70 calories; 2.5 g fat; 80 mg sodium; 23 g carbs; 10 g sugar; 1 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 0 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D||oatmeal, smoothies and cereals–not recommended to be used in baking or cooking due to watery texture|
With cow’s milk allergy reported to be the largest allergy in infants and children, it’s safe to say that these milk substitutes are a valuable resource. What’s your experience with these different milks? Have a particular preference you want to share? If you’re up to the challenge, why not make your own milk?