If your 2019 plans include ditching dairy, you may be thinking about what the best alternative is, or wondering what you can have instead.
The good news is, there are lots of options.
The bad news is, that with so many to choose from, you’re going to want them all!
Here’s what you need to know about each one to help you decide which is best for you.
One of the most well-known milk alternatives, almond milk is a versatile beverage that is an ideal substitute for dairy alternatives in baking, cereal and anywhere else that typically requires milk. A source of healthy fats and protein, opt for milks that have minimal additional ingredients other than almonds and water. Once opened almond milk will last 7-10 days in the fridge. While almond milk led the charge when nut milks started to come on the scene, there are now several other varieties to choose from, including cashew milk, macadamia milk and hazelnut milk just to name a few. All of these will have their own characteristics and nutritional profiles, as dictated by the nuts they are made from.
The difference between soy milk and nut-based milks is that soy is a legume rather than a nut. As a result, soy milk is higher in protein than nut milks, but not as strong a source of healthy fats. In addition, one concern with soy milk is that soy beans are often genetically modified. Depending on the brand of milk you are choosing, this could be the case with the beans used for your milk as well. Opt for non-GMO and check the ingredients to ensure there are no unnecessary fillers.
Rice milk is a common plant milk alternative, which was often adopted as a good choice for individuals who were lactose intolerant. Rice is a gluten free grain, which means this milk is also suitable for individuals who are gluten intolerant, and it offers a source of B vitamins. Because it is often made from white rice however, it is much higher in carbohydrates than many other milk alternatives, making it a poor choice for those with diabetes or individuals who are trying to decrease their sugar intake.
Oats, like rice, offer a grain-based milk alternative. Oats are a complex carbohydrate and an excellent source of fiber. They are a great addition to your diet if you have high cholesterol, as their natural fiber content encourages the binding of excess cholesterol so that it can be removed from the body. Oats contain gluten, making this a non-option for people who have celiac disease. Otherwise, like almond milk, it is versatile and great to use in baking, on cereal, or in sauces and soups.
Whether you are going vegan and eliminating animal products from your diet or simply want to try a plant alternative a few times a week, incorporating more plant-based milks is a great place to start. Find your favourite and enjoy!
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH