Milky Ways For A Healthy You

If you thought lactose-free milk is your ‘luxury’ milk choice, then let us tell you that is so 2016. Milk is milk. Or is it? While it is a popular choice for many, some people choose not to drink milk due to personal preferences, dietary restrictions, allergies or intolerances. As per trending health habits you can find many different non-dairy milk options and no, it’s not just coconut and almond.

Consuming fewer calories can be a good thing if you’re guzzling iced coffee with unsweetened almond milk all day, but may be less desirable if you’re looking for a nutritious addition to your morning bowl of steel-cut oats.

So, if you’re quitting dairy or simply looking to cut milk out (if cheese and yoghurt are still part of the diet plan), here are options you could replace it with.

Soy Milk

Made with either soybeans or soy protein isolate, soy milk often contains thickeners and vegetable oils to improve taste and consistency. It works best as a substitute for milk in savoury dishes, with coffee or on top of cereal. In terms of nutrition, it contains a similar amount of protein, but around half the number of calories, fats and carbohydrates. It is also one of the few plant-based sources of high-quality “complete” protein, which provides all the essential amino acids.

Almond Milk

It is made with either whole almonds or almond butter and water. With a light texture, its slightly sweet and nutty flavour pairs well with coffee, tea and smoothies and used as a substitute in desserts and baked goods. It is also significantly lower in protein and carbohydrates and one of the lowest-calorie nondairy milks available, making it a great option for those who need to lower the number of calories if they’re watching their waistline.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from water and the white flesh of brown coconuts. The texture is creamy and it has a sweet, subtle coconut flavour but it has the lowest protein and carbohydrate content from the nondairy milk group. It may not be the best option for those with increased protein requirements, but it would an ideal pick for those looking to reduce their carb intake and shed some pounds.

Oat Milk

This one doesn’t fit in everyone’s diet plan but one positive is that you can churn your own out at home. In its simplest form, oat milk is made from a mixture of oats and water. It contains a similar number of calories to regular milk, up to double the number of carbohydrates and about half the amount of protein and fat.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice and water. As with other nondairy milks, it often contains thickeners to improve texture and taste. Rice milk is the least allergenic of the nondairy milks, making it a safe option for those with allergies or intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy or nuts. It contains a similar number of calories to dairy milk, but almost double the carbohydrates and considerably less protein and fat making it a unfavourable option for growing children, athletes and the elderly.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from a mixture of cashew nuts or cashew butter and water. Rich, creamy and a sweet, subtle nutty flavour makes it great for thickening smoothies or for a rich texture. It has fewer than one-third of the calories of regular milk, half the fat and significantly less protein and carbohydrates making it less than ideal for people with high protein requirements. The low carbohydrate and sugar content make it a suitable option for people who need to monitor their carb intake.

Pea Milk

A rather new addition to the non-dairy milk family that sounds a little bizarre and out of place. It is made from pea protein isolate, water, and other emulsifiers like algal oil, sunflower oil, and guar and gellan gums. It’s as creamy as soy with a slightly less nutty taste for 70 calories per cup. The use of algal oil provides DHA, a key omega-3 fatty acid that’s linked to immunity, heart health, and cognition. The unsweetened versions pack up to 8gm protein from a nutrient-dense source. Definitely one of the more interesting options to try if you’re going dairy-free.