Many people love to pour milk over their morning cup of coffee or bowl of cereal, mix it into their smoothies, and drink it by the glass. But what do you do if you love milk but suffer from a dairy allergy, have discovered a lactose intolerance, or no longer eat or drink animal products?
Today, more than ever, we have many delicious alternatives to cow’s milk. There used to be solely soy milk in the dairy-free section. While soy milk is a good option, soy is equally high on the list of common allergens as dairy. Now there are more dairy-free milk bottles on the shelf than cow’s milk bottles. Below are four of the best dairy-free alternatives that you should try if you want to limit your dairy intake. Make sure to check the nutrition facts on any of the non-dairy milk cartons you decide to buy in order to ensure there is no added sugar. Some non-dairy beverages can be riddled with sugar. Generally, stay away from the flavored milks as these will contain the highest amounts of sugar.
1. Almond Milk
Made from almonds and water, almond milk provides a lightly sweet, yet nutty flavored milk. It pairs well with tea or coffee and you can seamlessly substitute it for cow’s milk in most recipes. This non-dairy milk also boasts a low calorie count.
One cup of almond milk contains about 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates. When purchasing almond milk, look for the brands with higher amounts of almonds. Since almond milk contains a large amount of water, the milks with higher concentrations of almonds will grant you all the benefits from the almonds. 7-15% is a good range to look for. One setback to almond milk's nutrition facts is its low protein count. Contrary to cow’s milk, almond milk is not a good source of protein as it only contains 1 gram per serving.
2. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk comes from the white fleshy part of coconuts and is then mixed with water. Thicker than almond milk and cow’s milk, coconut milk offers a creamy texture and a mildly sweet aftertaste. It also contains a subtle coconut flavor, but nothing overpowering.
One cup of coconut milk only contains about 45 calories and 4 grams of fat, which is significantly less than cow’s milk. The non-dairy beverage barely contains any carbohydrates or protein. For those on the keto diet trying to reduce their carb intake, coconut milk can be a perfect option. However, similarly to almond milk, coconut milk is not a good source of protein.
3. Oat Milk
Oat milk has risen in ranks of popularity in the last year. Usually made from oats and water, the milk offers a semi-sweet flavor with a textured touch of creamy.
One cup of oat milk contains about 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 22 grams of carbohydrates. The calories can compare almost equally with cow’s milk, but does contain almost double the amount of carbohydrates. However, the non-dairy beverage includes a high concentration of fiber, which helps reduce your LDL cholesterol and slow the carbohydrates from entering your bloodstream.
4. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk has also become increasingly popular. Made from the seeds of the hemp plant, hemp milk produces a sweet, nutty flavor and is the thinnest of this list of milks. You can compare the texture to skim milk. It does come from the same plant used to make marijuana, but contains only trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical, THC.
One cup of hemp milk contains about 70 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrate. Hemp milk can also be a good milk alternative for those watching their carbohydrate intake. The protein in hemp milk contains all the essential amino acids to create a complete protein and can be a good option for vegetarians or vegans.