For anyone looking for an alternative to dairy milk, Women’s Health magazine did a comparison on some other options. It’s not all inclusive, but it’s a good reference of the most popular milk alternatives in your local grocery store.
I haven’t tried all of these, but the ones I have tried are pretty good! If you choose to continue drinking cow’s milk, its best to buy organic. If your budget doesn’t allow for that (and I understand, organics can be pricey!), at least make sure the label says that they don’t use cows with artificial growth hormones.
(Info from: Milk, Minus the Cow – Women’s Health)
Almond Breeze Original Per cup: 60 cal, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 8 g carbs (7 g sugars), 150 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
- Taste: Creamy, rich, and slightly nutty with a hint of sweetness
- Pros: The least caloric of the bunch, it’s fortified with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights UV damage, as well as calcium and vitamins A and D.
- Cons: While almonds themselves are a good source of fiber and protein, the milk contains skimpy amounts of these nutrients (that’s because the milk is made by grinding the nuts and mixing with water). Almond milk is also higher in sodium than other alternatives.
- Best in: Smoothies, coffee, and cereal
Tempt Original Per cup: 100 cal, 6 g fat (0.5 g sat), 9 g carbs (6 g sugars), 110 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein
- Taste: Nutty and earthy
- Pros: It’s naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids—wonder nutrients for your heart, brain, and mood. Hemp milk is made with cannabis seeds, but it won’t get you high, because it lacks significant THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).
- Cons: Depending on the brand, you may gulp only 10 percent of your daily calcium needs. It’s not a great source of protein either.
- Best in: Mashed potatoes, muffins, and quick breads. Unobtrusive in flavor, it’s a good stand-in for cow’s milk in baked foods.
So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Original Per cup: 80 cal, 5 g fat (5 g sat), 7 g carbs (6 g sugars), 15 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
- Taste: Thick, creamy, and, well, coconut-y
- Pros: It has the least amount of sodium and can be fairly low-cal—even some flavored kinds will cost you only 90 calories per serving. Plus, most brands are fortified with half a day’s worth of vitamin B12, a brain-boosting nutrient.
- Cons: “The majority of fat is saturated,” says Lauren Slayton, R.D., founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. But at five grams per serving, it constitutes less than 8 percent of your total daily value for fat.
- Best in: Coffee, tea, pudding, smoothies, and oatmeal—it’s a go-to thickener.
Rice Dream Enriched Original Per cup: 120 cal, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 23 g carbs (10 g sugars), 100 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
- Taste: Light, watery, and sweet
- Pros: The carbs. “Have a glass before or after a workout—it offers carbs to fuel and fluid to hydrate, and like a sports drink, it’s a good source of electrolytes,” says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
- Cons: The carbs. If you’re trying to drop a few pounds, it’s best to eat whole-grain carbs, which contain filling fiber; rice milk has zero.
- Best in: Desserts, baked goods, pancakes, and French toast. Its natural sweetness complements indulgent foods.
Silk Original Per cup: 100 cal, 4 g fat (0.5 g sat), 8 g carbs (6 g sugars), 120 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein
- Taste: Faintly sweet. Some varieties have a slight tofu flavor.
- Pros: It has almost as much protein as cow’s milk, plus plant chemicals that may help inhibit absorption of cholesterol. It’s often fortified, so shake the carton well—added calcium tends to settle at the bottom, says Zied.
- Cons: Some studies suggest that overconsuming soy promotes breast cancer. “A good guideline is about 25 grams of soy protein per day,” says Zied.
- Best in: Creamy soups and salad dressings, sauces, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Vanilla-flavored varieties are great in coffee or tea (or by the glass!).