5 Milk Substitutes: The Good, The Bad, And The Most Nutritious
Dairy milk, sadly, is not for everybody. Whether you are lactose intolerant, switching to a plant-based food plan, or are simply trying to improve your overall diet, milk alternatives offer quite a range of nutritional benefits as well new flavour profiles. To help you find out which milk is perfect for you, we list down five nondairy milk for you to choose from:
Soy milk has to be one of the most popular milk alternatives. As its name suggests, soy milk is made from soybeans; it sometimes has thickeners and other flavouring ingredients. Of all the alternatives, soy milk comes closest to milk when it comes to how much protein it contains. A cup of soy milk has 7-8 grams of protein while regular milk has 8 grams as well. But in terms of calories and fat, soy milk is significantly lower as it is a plant-based product, with only 80-90 calories and 4-4.5 grams of fat. Most soy milk products are also usually fortified with vitamins such as vitamin D and calcium.
It terms of texture, soy milk in general has a similar texture to regular milk: creamy and smooth. For taste, there are now countless of different flavour variants from sweetened, unsweetened, milky, vanilla, and even chocolate! Soy milk's taste varies from brand to brand but some do find it a tad bit chalk-y so its best to research which label offers the best taste to suit your liking.
Oat milk is produced by soaking oats in water and blending them using a high-powered machine. Because of this, oat milk a bit creamier than other milk substitutes and has the mildest flavour. In terms of calories, oat milk comes close to that of regular milk (110-130 calories per cup), more carbohydrates (19-29 grams per cup), and significantly less protein (2-4 grams per cup). On the bright side, since oats are high in soluble fibre, it makes you feel more full and it helps in lowering cholesterol levels as well.
Although a glass of oat milk may not the most ideal drink for many due to its somewhat bland taste, it is actually a good creamer for coffee, and milk substitute for waffles, pancakes, and smoothies. Plus you can easily make your own it at home!
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For those who are trying to lose weight and trimming down their calorie intake, almond milk is the choice for you! A cup of almond milk only has 35-60 calories. And because it is made from nuts, almond milk has around 2 grams of unsaturated, healthy fat. It is also rich with vitamin E, and a serving usually contains around 20–50% of the daily vitamin E requirement. On the downside, almond milk has very little protein (1 gram.)
Personally, almond milk is my preferred milk alternative solely because of its rich and creamy taste. I find that it is best to have with coffee, teas, and lattes. It can also be used in cereals, smoothies, and in baking too!
Of all milk alternatives, hemp milk is relatively the newest to hit grocery stores. This milk is made from hemp seeds which are one of the highest sources of plant-based protein, sometimes even higher than that of beef! Because of that fun fact, hemp seeds are widely popular as toppings to smoothie bowls and salads. Moreover, these seeds are rich in omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, and calcium too.
Meanwhile, hemp milk usually has 4-6 grams of protein per cup and 7 grams of healthy fat. When fortified, hemp milk can also contain vitamins A, B12, D, and E, as well as iron, magnesium, and zinc.
As for taste: hemp milk is on the nuttier end of things and has more or less the same consistency as almond milk.
Another popular milk substitute behind soy milk and almond milk is cashew milk. Just like almond, cashew milk has significantly less calories compared to regular milk with only 25-60 calories per cup. But similar to other nut milks, it has very little protein with only a gram per cup. It also has the same nutrients found in almond milk and has potassium and magnesium too.
As for taste, it is less nutty in comparison to almond milk and is a little sweeter. Cashew milk also tends to be creamier, so if you prefer you smoothies with a thicker consistency, cashew milk works best. Because of its sweeter taste, it is ideal for teas and matcha lattes.
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