Alternatives to Dairy Milks.
Since I wrote the original alternative milks article in 2012, much has changed! There has been a 61% increase in non-dairy milk consumers. There are at least 8 new types of non-dairy milk that didn’t exist or weren’t known well at that time. All non-dairy milks have fewer calories than dairy milk, but they do have more ingredients. Non-dairy milks (except coconut-based milks), have less fat than full-fat dairy milk. Non-dairy milks (except soy milk) have the same or less protein than dairy milk. The healthiest alternative milks are the ones with the fewest added sugars, thickeners and gums. You will need to take a good look at the labels.
Cashew Milk – This is a mild flavored milk made from roasted cashews. It is creamy so is good to cook and bake with. Nutritionally it is similar to almond milk with only about 1g of protein, but it has more calcium than cow’s milk. It has between 25-50 calories per cup. It is popular with those on a Paleo diet.
Flax Milk – This newer non-dairy milk is made from flaxseed oil and water. It is low in calories, 25 per cup, and has no protein or carbs. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and contains vitamins A, B12 and D.
Quinoa Milk – This milk is made from water and 5-10% quinoa. It is slightly sweet and nutty and is low in calories and sugar. It is high in Vitamin E, low in fat, and has moderate amounts of protein and carbs.
Pea Milk – This is the newest non-dairy milk to hit the market. Sold under the brand name Ripple, it is made from yellow peas, is low in carbs, and has as much protein as soy and cow’s milk. It also has omega-3s, vitamin D and iron. It is smoother and thicker than cow’s milk but it has a unique flavor which might mean the flavored/sweetened versions might be better.
Pecan Milk – has a naturally sweet flavor. It contains antioxidants, vitamins E, A and several B-complex, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, iron and amino acids. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is good in coffee and on cereal.
Macadamia Milk is made mostly of water and 3% macadamia nuts. It is a recent entry into the non-dairy milks field. Most brands are made from Australian macadamias. It has about 50-55 calories per cup, 1g of protein, 1g of carbs and no sugar. The best brands are close to the smooth and creamy consistency of cow’s milk.
Buckwheat Milk – has 55 calories per cup. Buckwheat is a seed, not a grain, and it is high in protein and fiber. It has nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and protein. It is good to cook with.
Peanut Milk – Currently peanut milk is only available from Elmhurst. It is officially called Milked Peanuts. An 8 oz. glass is made from 31 peanuts and has 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein. It is sweet, pea-nutty and recommended for smoothies.
For more information on cow’s milks, rice, oat, soy, almond, hemp and coconut milks see our earlier article.