Are you lactose intolerant, vegan or on a low cholesterol diet? If you answered “yes” to any of these, then dairy may be something you are trying to avoid.
Just because you are avoiding dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice cold glass of milk or a delicious bowl of cereal. There are plenty of alternatives to cow’s milk that are healthy and taste good. Let’s take a look at some of the most common milk substitutes.
Soy milk is a good source of protein. It’s low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Most manufacturers add natural thickeners to their soy milks to give the soy drink a texture similar to cow’s milk. Soy milk has a slight beany taste that may be difficult for some to get used to. If you don’t like the taste of plain soy milk, you may prefer the taste of the flavored varieties, like vanilla or chocolate.
Almond milk is rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium. It is also low fat, low sugar, low calorie, contains no cholesterol and high in antioxidants. Almond milk is much thinner in texture than cow’s milk, but it has a pleasant nutty taste.
Coconut milk has a nice creamy texture and slightly sweet coconut flavor. Low fat coconut milk has a texture similar to cow’s milk and full fat coconut milk has a texture similar to heavy whipping cream. Coconut milk is high in calories, plant based saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). These fats are much easier for the body to digest that animal based fats. Coconut milk is also high in lauric acid, which may help your body fight off viruses.
Rice milk can be made from white rice or brown rice. Both versions are easy to digest, high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Rice milk has a watery texture and a very mild taste. Some people prefer vanilla flavored rice milk for the added flavor.
Oat milk has a moderate amount of calories and is high in fiber. It is naturally sweet and only slightly thinner in texture than low fat cow’s milk.
Hemp milk is a nutrition powerhouse. It is a great source of protein, folic acid, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, E, B-12 and D. In addition, hemp milk is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are the good fats your body uses for health skin, hair and eyes. On top of it, hemp milk has no cholesterol. The taste of hemp milk may take a bit to get used to. It has a slightly nutty, but bitter flavor. The vanilla flavored hemp milks, however, have a much more pleasant taste.