2 minute read
There are so many dairy-free, plant-based milk options out there, I am sure you are wondering which you should be choosing and which is better for you?
That all depends on what you’re looking for, I have outlined a few of the most popular options below with their different nutritional value, their benefits and pitfalls.
Nut milk is often lower in calcium and vitamin D which is something to watch out for if you have cut dairy out of your diet. Buying nut milk's, you will often find they are fortified with calcium, Vitamin D and possibly other vitamins and minerals, however, if you make your own at home they won’t have these vitamins and minerals added so this is something to watch out for if you are not getting this from other sources.
Soy milk - This is most nutritionally similar to cows milk with protein, fat and calcium. Per cup is about 80 calories and 8g of protein, which is a fantastic protein punch for plant-based milk. Soy milk is very nutritious full of fibre and polyunsaturated fats. Make sure you buy non-GMO. (Alpro is non-GMO). For those worried about their soy intake- having a cup or 2 a day is absolutely fine, if you were having it 4 times a day it may be something to watch, as with everything, enjoy a verity.
Almond milk - An easy one to make at home to ensure you have no additives or nasties, thickeners, emulsifiers and preservatives. Almond’s naturally contain more calcium and vitamin E than other plans based milk's, so even if you make this at home you will find some calcium in almond milk. Store-bought almond milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamins. However almond milk does have little protein in it. Almond milk is often 35-90 calories per cup.
Cashew milk - This can also be easily made at home without all the added ingredients (thickeners), however, it is lower in protein and calcium. Again shop bought is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Cashews do have nigher magnesium, copper and zinc than other nuts. This milk can be lovely and creamy in smoothies, teas and coffee, with anywhere between 30-50 calories per cup.
Hemp milk- A complete protein source that also contains omega 3&6. A great alternative to soy milk for those wishing to not have soya. It also packs a punch of magnesium, calcium and vitamin D. While this milk also has about 3g of protein per cup and 60-75 calories, it has very little fibre but is a lot less sweet than the other plant-based milk's.
Oat milk- Higher in carbohydrates and sugars and again lower in protein. However, this is a good alternative if you fancy something a little thicker and sweeter. Very nice for hot chocolate ;) but often higher in calories at around 100-150 per cup.
Oat milk is higher in fibre which may make it more filling than other plant-based milk's.
Coconut milk - This is usually made from coconut cream and water. It’s higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates than other milks, and can be between 50-90 calories per cup, but is often sweetened.
Rice milk- Often with added sugar this milk is made using rice and water, it has a fairly low nutritional value, therefore wouldn’t be my first choice for milk alternatives. Roughly 40-60 calories per cup.
When buying dairy-free milk's an important ingredient to look out for is the sugar content of the milk and if there are added sugars or sweeteners, this is very common, however, it is very easy to buy unsweetened.
*Note per cup is 250ml.
I hope this helps make your dairy-free milk choice easier and has given you a little insight into the nutritional value of all the options out there.
As always fire across any questions you may have!
BSc Sports Science, Women’s Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer