Milk alternatives (sometimes referred to as “Faux Milk”) are a staple in a vegan household, especially when it comes to a household with kids like mine! While there are many choices out there in the marketplace, they all have different nutritional benefits, deficits, and profiles. You can use faux milk for everything you would use Cow’s milk for drinking, adding to cereal, using in recipes for baking, or adding to your tea or coffee. Many milks are sweetened unless otherwise noted on the packaging, and I tend to prefer unsweetened milks because of their lower sugar content. If you are nutritionally conscience, be aware that most of these milks are fortified with Vitamins and Nutrients, but not all of them are. Here are some milks we have tried in my household:
Soy Milk – Has been shown to help lower cholesterol, help maintain bone health, and is the highest in protein of available faux milks; Has the closest nutritional profile to cow’s milk. Rich in isoflavones (anti-oxidants, also shown to help prevent osteoporosis and certain cancers (prostate and breast)). Most brands are low in fat.
Rice Milk – Most brands will taste somewhat watered down unless they are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium, but tends to be sweet. Lowest in protein, low fat (no saturated fat), low nutritional benefits. However, it is the safest faux milk to consume in terms of potential allergic reactions when compared to other faux milks.
Almond Milk – Somewhat grainy consistency, low in protein and calories. Contains mono-saturated fats, which are good for overall heart health because they have been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Most brands are fortified with Vitamins A, D, and E and are high in calcium.
Oat Milk – Fairly neutral taste; High in fiber, Vitamins E & B, Iron, and contains a moderate amount of protein. Oat Milk has been shown to help lower cholesterol. High in phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals that have been shown to help ward off and fight disease).
Hemp Milk – Nutty flavor. Good source of Omega 3’s and Omega 6, magnesium, potassium, iron and magnesium. Hemp has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and improve circulation. One of if not the best alternative milks in terms of nutritional benefit.
Coconut Milk – Creamy and Sweet! High in Iron and Phosphorous (a nutrient used for strengthening bones). Anti-viral and Anti-fungal properties. Great source of Vitamins D and B12. Low in calcium and protein.
Sunflower Milk – Newer on the faux milk market. Neutral flavor, somewhat grainy consistency. High in Omega 6 fats and amino acids. Also rich in vitamins A, B1, B5, folate, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium and phosphorous!
Recently, I started (and am still currently) making the transition from fortified Rice Milk to Almond Milk because it seemed, after some research, that rice milk overall was the most “empty” when it came nutritional benefits. Many if not all of these milks will be in recipes that I will feature later on.
Until next week!