Milk has many health benefits; from helping to build bone, potentially aiding in weight loss, and enhancing workout recovery, the nutrients in milk can certainly contribute to a healthy lifestyle. However, many people today have certain dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming milk, including lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and those who choose a vegan lifestyle. Non-dairy milk alternatives are useful if you are trying to avoid milk, but you are struggling to cook without these dairy milk products. Here is a breakdown of some popular milk alternatives and what they are best used for.
- Nutritional Information (Silk Unsweetened) Per Cup: 80 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram sugar, 7 grams protein
- Benefits: Soy milk is made by soaking and grinding soybeans. Full of protein, it is a great replacement for dairy when you are trying to hit the gym to build muscle. Moreover, it has more protein than almond or rice milk, so it is a great if you have a food allergy and are looking to incorporate more protein into your diet. Soy milk is high in essential fatty acids, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. It also has about the same amount of protein as a cup of skim milk.
Uses: Try soy milk instead of milk to fluff up mashed potatoes and lower the calories in the dish. It can be used it in creamy soups for a great texture or in icing recipes for a healthier treat.
- Nutritional Information (Silk Unsweetened) Per Cup: 30 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0 grams sugar, 1 gram protein
- Benefits: Almond milk is made by running soaked almonds into a blender with water, and then straining the almonds. This is a great alternative if you are trying to watch your calories, especially the unsweetened varieties. Almond milk is heart healthy and low calorie, but does not contain as much protein as soy milk.
- Uses: Almond milk has a bit of a nutty taste, and is another great addition to smoothies. You can also use it to make a thicker salad dressing that is rich and creamy. Another creative use of almond milk is to buy the chocolate variety and heat it up in the microwave for a lighter and lower calorie hot chocolate. The nutty flavor from a splash of almond milk is also a nice addition to your morning coffee.
- Nutritional Information (Rice Dream Unsweetened) Per Cup: 70 calories, 2.5 grams fat, <1 gram sugar, 0 grams protein
- Benefits: Rice milk is made with brown rice and water and is usually fortified with many vitamins, including vitamin A and phosphorous. This is a great option for people with any nut allergies. There is no lactose or cholesterol in this product, so it can be a tasty and heart healthy way to replace cow’s milk in your diet.
- Uses: Rice milk can be used to replace milk in almost any recipe. It has a thinner consistency, so it is a great alternative for use in pudding, soufflés, and even an omelette. Rice milk is also great to use when making instant oatmeal, as opposed to using plain water.
When cooking with any of these milk alternative varieties, it is important to stir constantly so as not to scorch when cooking. Avoid freezing foods made with rice milk, since it can sacrifice consistency and flavor. Soy and almond milk are the best milk alternatives for baking purposes. Give these milk alternatives a try and find out which one is best for you!