The 12 Best Non-Dairy Substitutes for Milk | What is the best alternative to milk? How to choose it? | 12+ Plant-Based Alternatives

are now ample and the choice between them is very hard, as it doesn’t only come down to , but as well.

While many choose to exclude animal-derived products from their diet for or , many have no choice but to eliminate cow’s milk and find a suitable vegan milk source, such as almond milk or coconut milk.

But, How can one choose with all the options available?

The most common reason why someone chooses not to drink milk is either an ; in fact, it is estimated that surprisingly , which is the protein found in milk.

Following the impossibility, there are (i.e.: vegans do not eat/drink/use any product that comes from an animal source) and others (i.e.: concerned over the potential contaminants in the animal itself — like the antibiotics used for cows).

alternative to milk
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What are the main nutrients dairy/cow’s milk offers?

Let’s start by noticing what are the cow’s milk offers.

, as it provides 1g of these for every fluid ounce of drink; the protein found in milk is considered to be of very high quality as it is and a .

In addition to proteins, milk offers the following vitamins and minerals:

  • : the only rich sources of Vitamin B-12 are of animal origins and it is essential to the human body as it assists with the and it .
  • : This is famously known for , but while milk is not the only source of calcium, .
  • : also known as , is one of the eight essential vitamins for the body. It has a crucial role in the .
  • : it is a mineral that, like calcium, is essential for the .
  • : this is . Some countries recommend or even mandate, that this vitamin is added to milk. Vitamin D is important, yet hard to get, as; it is valuable as it assists with the absorption of other nutrients, such as calcium, which milk is rich in.
best milk alternative
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What to look for in a substitute for milk?

It is important to , especially when they are created to substitute something else; when choosing your new milk alternative, ensure you read more than just the calories, but check the following as well:

  • : as milk is a great source of proteins, find milk that offers .
  • : ensure you are selecting the ; many substitutes add a lot of sugars to make the flavor more palatable, but this reduces the alternative to a very unhealthy one.
  • : just like sugar is added, sodium is as well. Sodium is the salt found in food and it is globally one of the most over-consumed additives, which is extremely unhealthy.
  • : make sure the list of ingredients is as short as possible. Most of the time you will find the main ingredient (i.e.: the main name of the plant), water, and some stabilizers. (unless it is a fortified milk — read that part as well)
  • : High quantities of saturated fat are found especially in coconut milk alternatives for milk and the ones that are fortified with proteins.
  • : try and select options that have ; these two are very important for bone and teeth health and .
  • : you may have concerns, intolerances, or allergies to other ingredients, so ensure you read the full list of ingredients on the package.
is milk vegan
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What are the most popular milk alternatives?

Soy milk

Soy milk is ; often hailed as the best milk alternative for its similarities with cow’s milk this is what you need to know about it:

  • : soy milk has about the , fats, and carbohydrates. It is also a .
  • : it is the most similar in taste to cow’s milk when used in savory dishes. .
  • : it is one of the very few plant-based alternatives that are a source of amino acids, which are , as it does not naturally produce them.
  • : it is made by soaking and blending the soybeans, the extra pulp is strained and then on some occasions, thickeners and oils are added to increase consistency and better taste.
  • : this is a controversial topic, as consuming large amounts of this can affect the function of hormones; studies however have shown that consuming moderate amounts of it does not affect the body.

Soy milk is a .

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a very popular choice for a milk alternative, as it is available in most supermarkets and it tastes very nice.

  • : most almond milk options are very (about 1g per portion), therefore if using it as a permanent substitute it is important to integrate the intake with other sources, such as nut butter.
  • : almond milk is made with either whole almond or almond butter, which are blended with water. Other products may be added to improve consistency and taste.
  • : it is and it is an excellent choice when one is trying to reduce calorie intake.
  • : while almond milk is a , the other nutrients it offers are much less compared to when consuming the whole almond.
  • It is as it is very low in carbohydrates and quite inexpensive at the same time.

~~ Looking for more almond inspired recipes? Pear and Almond Crumble with Cardamom Infused Custard

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Oat Milk

Oat milk is one of the trendiest options on the market, mainly because of its . It is .

: it can be used in sweet dishes, such as cereals, tea, and coffee, but also savory ones.

  • : oat milk has almost double the carbohydrates of cow’s milk while offering half the proteins and fat for about the same number of calories.
  • Given its high amount of carbohydrates,
  • : oat milk is made by using a blend of different oats and water, then its texture and flavor are improved with additives, such as gums, oil, and salt.
  • : oat milk is a great , which may help lower cholesterol and the level of sugar in the blood.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is undoubtedly the most exotic tasting dairy-free, vegan milk and .

: coconut milk is made of water and coconut cream (the flesh of the brown coconut); it is normally sold in a milk carton and it is a lighter, less thick version of the coconut milk sold in tins which are usually used in cooking.

  • : coconut milk is compared to cow’s milk, with fewer proteins and carbohydrates, but it has a very . While saturated fat has a very low recommended daily dosage, as it makes one feel fuller soon, should this milk be used in moderation it may assist in reducing calorie intake.
  • As coconut milk is low in carbohydrates
  • Coconut milk , so should one use this drink only for a dairy-free substitute, it is recommended that proteins are taken from other sources, such as nuts and legumes.
  • (like desserts, pies, puddings, cereals, etc.) (tea, coffee, cocktails, mocktail, etc.), as well as savory.

~~ Love oat and coconut? Try these breakfast cookies!

vegan milk source
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Rice Milk

Rice milk is a great vegan alternative for those looking for mild flavors and the ones suffering from nuts allergies.

  • : white or brown rice is blended with water, but as its flavor is very mild and the consistency extremely liquid,
  • Rice milk has a , meaning it is absorbed quickly in the gut, raising very quickly the level of sugar in the blood; this may make rice milk not an ideal choice for those suffering from diabetes.
  • Rice milk is a
  • Most people are fine consuming rice milk as part of a balanced diet, however many studies have shown that those already consuming a lot of rice in their diet could benefit from using a variety of milk substitutes to diversify their diet.

Other milk substitutes

Many different substitutes are new, up and coming and there certainly is something to satisfy everyone; here’s a short list of the most popular ones:

  • : it is made from water and pea protein isolate, as well as other oils and gums, to better its taste and consistency.
  • : it is made from a blend of full cashews or cashew butter and water. This dairy-free substitute is an excellent choice for
  • : peanut milk is an excellent legume-based milk alternative, as . While this dairy-free option is hard to purchase ready-made in shops, there are multiple recipes available online that show how to make your own.
  • : most store-bought flax milk options are made like pea milk with the addition of flaxseed oil.
  • : this is a relatively new addition to the market and can be mainly found in Australia. It is made for up to 97% of water and it has a nutty flavor, rich and creamy.
  • : it is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, which contain only traces of THC. It has a very watery texture and it is quite sweet and nutty to taste.
  • Other milk substitutes available in the market are .
new milk alternative
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In brief

While for some cow milk is considered essential and a staple, for many others there is no choice but to reduce or eliminate its consumption for dietary, ethical, or other reasons.

Fortunately, (and many more still up and coming) in the market, therefore it is not hard to find something suitable for everyone’s needs.

There are however choices available for everyone’s dietary needs, ethical reasons, and pockets.

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