When most people think of dairy-free products, they automatically think taste-free too! This is definitely not true, as plant-based or dairy-free alternatives are delicious! Plant-based milk alternatives are becoming very popular as they can be used in as many products as dairy milk.
There are many plant-based milks available as a substitute for dairy. Soy milk is the best dairy substitute, and oat milk closely resembles the consistency of dairy milk. Plant-based alternatives are packed with the vitamins and nutrients you would expect in dairy options but are much healthier!
Many people don’t use dairy milk because of lifestyle choices, health problems, or simply for ethical reasons. Dairy-free plant-based milks are more in demand in everyday society as people are beginning to understand the benefits of plant-based milks and don’t see them as a fad. Alternatives to dairy milk are available in most supermarkets, with many popular restaurants and coffee shops adding plant-based milks to their menus as diary-free options. But do all plant-based milks compare to dairy milk?
What Is Plant-Based Milk Made From?
If you are not a drinker of dairy milk but enjoy milky drinks, chocolates, and sweet treats, what else can you use as a substitute for dairy? There are many alternatives available on the market! A great dairy-free milk option comes down to the flavor, taste, nutrition, and cost for most people.
On the whole, plant-based milk contains fewer calories, less fat, has higher water content, and less protein than dairy milk. There are some exceptions to this nutrient rule: Coconut milk, which has a high-fat content, and Soy, with higher protein content.
The strangest comparison to dairy milk is Almond milk that contains more calcium than dairy milk!
Most plant-based milks are fortified with nutrients and vitamins. Always check the ingredients on the label to see what is in the plant-based milk you are buying.
We have listed our favorite dairy-free plant-based products and the best way to use them.
Flax milk is made with flax oil or ground flax and water. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and has as much calcium as cow’s milk. Flax milk is ethically produced and can be used as any regular milk product.
Pros: Flax milk is used to treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Cons: Low in protein. Flavored varieties can contain sugar.
Rice milk is made from milled brown or white rice and water. Low in protein and calcium, rice milk contains 120 calories per serving. A good calorie drink filled with carbohydrates for active people. Suitable for adding to oatmeal, cereal, and smoothies.
Pros: Rice milk is hypoallergenic, offering a safe option for anyone with a dairy, nut, or soy intolerance, and is lactose-free. Rice milk does contain antioxidants which could help to boost the immune system.
Cons: Rice milk has 3 to 4 times more carbohydrates than other plant-based milks, possibly harmful to people who have diabetes. Rice milk is generally sweetened with sugar.
Oat milk is made from steel-cut oats blended with water and strained to create a liquid. Oat milk does taste a lot like low-fat cow’s milk, but it is thicker and sweeter.
If you are gluten intolerant, always check the label before buying to see if it was made in a gluten-free factory.
Oat milk makes a latte taste fantastic, but it works just as well when added to curries, soups, and even mashed potatoes and baked goods!
Pros: Oat milk is fortified with calcium and contains fiber, protein, and iron, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and aid in building muscle. Oat milk is easy to make at home!
Cons: Oat milk could contain high amounts of preservatives and sugar.
Don’t miss our article that talks about why vegan milk curdles and helps you find the best vegan milk for coffee.
If you particularly enjoy the taste of roasted Cashews, then this is the milk for you. Cashew milk is used by people who follow a paleo lifestyle. An ideal low-fat dairy replacement in cream sauces, soups, ice cream, and puddings. Adds a wonderful creaminess to lattes! Try making your own Cashew milk at home.
Pros: A glass of cashew milk contains 45 percent of your daily calcium dose and only 25 calories per serving. Cashew milk can help to reduce cholesterol associated with cardiovascular disease.
Cons: Cashew milk does not contain any proteins and is rich in saturated fats.
Almond milk has a wonderful nutty taste and is used as a dairy-free alternative in cereals, coffee, desserts, and smoothies. Almond milk is made with blanched whole almonds and water providing a less concentrated source of beneficial nutrients.
Pros: With only 30 calories and 1 gram of protein per serving, Almond milk is great for people who are following a healthy diet. Lactose and gluten-free!
Cons: Not suitable for people with nut allergies. It is fortified with proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
This milk is made by grinding and soaking hemp seeds. While Hemp milk is carb-free, some brands do add sweeteners which will increase the carb content. Check the label for ingredients like cane sugar or rice syrup which are different methods of disguising the sugar content.
A 240ml (8-ounce) serving contains 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and only 60 calories. Hemp seeds do have a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Pros: Hemp contains complete protein and amino acids to assist with the healing and repair of protein tissues found in the body. Hemp milk is free of lactose, gluten, and Soy.
Cons: Low in calcium unless it has been fortified. Hemp milk can be expensive.
Coconut milk contains 45 calories per serving and is packed with calcium. Strangely, of all the plant-based milk, coconut milk most closely resembles the consistency of dairy milk.
If you enjoy the taste of coconut, add coconut milk to soups, puddings, cream sauces, and frozen desserts.
Pros: Coconut milk is Soy and gluten-free, perfect for those with allergies.
Cons: Coconut milk does not have the same nutritional value as dairy milk.
Extracted from soybeans, soy milk has a wonderfully smooth consistency. We love using Soy milk in our smoothies, delicious! Soy milk does, however, have a high-calorie count, so be careful how much you drink.
Pros: Soy milk is the most nutritionally balanced dairy alternative and is the closest to cow’s milk even though it is lactose-free! Cholesterol-free, Soy milk can aid in promoting cardiovascular health.
Cons: Although Soy contains all the essential amino acids, many people are intolerant to Soy and cannot drink the milk or use any Soy based product.
Quinoa is hailed as an extraordinary superfood as it is gluten-free, rich in high-quality protein, and low in fat, calories, and carbs! Quinoa milk is made from quinoa seeds and water and has a distinct flavor. Perfect poured into warm porridge and over cereal.
Pros: A perfect source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids.
Cons: Quinoa milk is not widely available and can be expensive.