Plant based milks are gaining in popularity all the time and for good reason. You may not have considered non dairy milk before but we recommend trying it for its nutritional benefits, even if you do not experience any sensitivity to cow’s milk. Dairy can also take a toll on skin and leave some of us feeling sluggish. We have found that we have experienced less indigestion and bloating since switching to plant based milk. If you are trying to move your diet toward minimally processed foods and drinks, then you should always go for the organic, unsweetened option. But of all the great tasting plant-based milks out there, what is the best non dairy milk substitute?
1. Almond Milk
Our top pick is almond milk, which is high in vitamin E. Like all plant-based milks, it is ideal for vegans and we find this milk tastiest when used in smoothies or oatmeal. It contains 1 gram of protein per cup, has a pleasant taste and a creamy texture. Almond milk is low in calories and is fortified with nutrients including vitamins A, B12, D and E, it also contains the essential minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Be sure to choose a variety with no added sugar (unsweetened) and check the label to make sure it does not contain the harmful additive, carrageenan.
2. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is our second choice because of its incredible nourishing benefits. It is made from hemp seeds and contains slightly more protein than almond milk at 2 grams per cup. It also contains all of the essential amino acids, omega 3 and 6, four grams of protein, vitamins A , B12, D and E, folic acid, 46% of your RDA of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
3. Coconut Milk
Real coconut milk is also really great for you. It contains 1 gram of protein per cup and is higher in fat than some of the other dairy free milks, containing 5 grams per cup. It makes a great non dairy coffee creamer and is an excellent source of manganese and MCT fats. The lauric acid present in coconut milk is also anti-bacterial. Again it is best to opt for the minimally processed variety, without additives like carrageenan and added sugar.
4. Oat Milk
Oat milk averages 4 grams of protein per cup and has a mild flavor. It is made from oats and enriched with vitamins and calcium. It is also low in saturated fat. The texture is creamy with a slightly powdery aftertaste. It can be good for using in cooking and making sauces as it won’t split when heated, but for day to day use we prefer the taste of other varieties.
5. Rice Milk
Rice milk has more carbohydrates than cow’s milk, but does not contain any of the fat or protein. It is lacking in any real nutrients and is more like starchy, sugar water. It can be good for those who suffer from dairy or nut allergies, though if you can drink one of the other dairy free milks we suggest you try those instead.
6. Soy Milk
Soy milk is definitely one of the most popular non dairy milk substitutes out there, but is it good for you? Science says not. Soy milk contains an average of 5 to 9 grams of protein per cup and because of its widespread availability it can be considered an easy source of non-animal protein, but nutritionists recommend against including soy in your diet, especially in a processed form. Soy contains phytoestrogens that can disrupt hormones, which could have side effects including acne, hypothyroid, infertility and even cancer.