• Deanne Pandey

Best Alternative Milks

As kids, we often heard our parents say “Drink your milk, it is good for you”. Indeed, milk is one of the best sources of calcium, protein, potassium and vitamins. Although milk might not suit everyone’s needs. This includes people with allergies, lactose intolerance or those who are vegan. The good news is that those who want or need to stay away from cow's milk can do so with a number of non-dairy milk alternatives. These vary in their levels of nutrition, colour, flavour and texture. Plant based milk alternatives have been in the stores for a very long time. But are these alternatives healthier than the nutritional options provided by milk itself?

Here is all you need to know before choosing your Alternative Milk option-

What to Look for in Alternative Milks

• At least 7-8g protein per serving

• As few ingredients as possible

• The words "unsweetened" and "0g added sugar"

• Limited saturated fat

• Less than 140mg of sodium per cup

• Fortification with calcium and vitamin D

1. Walnut Milk

Walnut milk is a top pick if you’re looking to boost your intake of plant-based omega-3’s. It tastes a little more earthy than other types of milks and packs 3g of plant-based protein for 120 calories. Use it in tea or coffee to shake up your morning routine, or in smoothies to balance out sweet-tasting fruits.

2. Almond Milk

Made from ground almonds, water and sweetener, almond milk is sweet with a creamy texture similar to dairy milk. Almond milk contains lots of vitamin E—about 50 percent of the daily value in one cup. Moreover almond milk has 1/3 of the calories of 2 percent cow's milk. Although almond milk has far less protein than dairy milk or soy milk. It also doesn't have the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids found in dairy milk, so it's important to look for fortified almond milk.

3. Rice Milk

Made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup and brown rice starch, rice milk is a popular alternative for cow's milk. Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of the milk alternatives. It's free of soy, gluten and nuts, important for those who are allergic or can't tolerate these ingredients. But rice milk is high in carbohydrates. And it's low in protein and calcium compared to dairy milk. This milk is also thin and watery, so it's

not a good cow's milk substitute for cooking or baking.

4. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from water and coconut cream, so it has a tropical taste compared to other plant-based milks. Nutritionally, coconut milk is higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates than nut- or grain-based milks. Most of the calories come from saturated fat — just one cup has up to 4g, which is 20% of your daily value. That said, the creamy consistency and fat content help boost satiety, so you’re likely to use less of it — especially if you’re adding it to coffee and tea.

5.  Soy Milk

A popular alternative to dairy milk, soy milk is a bean extract of soybeans and commonly sold in sweetened, unsweetened and flavoured varieties, including chocolate and vanilla. In many ways, soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow's milk. It's often fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D and riboflavin and it usually includes 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving. But, even a little soy milk can cause severe allergic reactions to those with a soy allergy.

Apart from these, other good alternative milks include- pea milk, oat milk, hemp milk, and flax milk.

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