Plant-Based Milk Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Plant-Based Milk Guide: Everything You Need To Know

In recent years, the plant-based milk market has gone BOOM. While for good reason, the humble consumer is sometimes left wondering where to start. What is the best plant-based milk? What is the difference in the types of plant-based milk? Is vegan milk different from dairy? That’s where we come in. So, sit back, stick with us, and prepare to enter the world of vegan milk with confidence. 

Although every type of plant-based milk is entirely different from cows' milk, they all great job at replacing dairy milk in all dietary forms. However, it is beneficial to know each type of plant-based milk's nutrition and flavor profile so you can find the right one. 

In terms of finding the best plant-based milk of any kind, it’s important to read the nutrition labels. While the nutritional value the different types of vegan milk is largely determined by the quality and type of raw material used, as well as the production methods behind it, there are some bits we can check ourselves! 

Some manufacturers fortify their milk with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D (see our blog post here) or B12. These fortified options can offer important nutrients, often similar to what is found in cow's milk, if you know there are nutritional gaps in your diet, grabbing a vegan milk with added nutrients is an easy way to fill those gaps up! However, when it comes to which type of plant-based milk takes the crown, that’s still all to play for… 

What Are The Benefits Of Plant-Based Milk? (256 words)

plant based milk

We’ve established the growing popularity of plant-based milk, but before we get into which is the best plant-based milk, let’s venture in to what all the fuss is about. Why is plant-based milk good? Is it better than dairy milk? Should you hop on the vegan milk-lovin’ train? Have a look at these top 6 benefits of plant-based milk and decide for yourself: 

1. Plant-based milk is often rich in vitamins and minerals. While plant milk is mainly water so has fewer nutritional elements than dairy milk, the best plant-based milk drinks are fortified with key vitamins and minerals. Nutrients commonly found in plant-based milk are vitamin D, B2, B12 and calcium.

2. Plant milk is better for the planet. Plant-based milk production needs less land, water, fertilizer, and energy than dairy production. The dairy industry is a large source of greenhouse gas, and consuming plant-based milk is more sustainable than dairy milk.

3. Plant-based milk contains less sugar than dairy milk. Milk sugar is a natural component of dairy milk, whereas unsweetened plant milk has almost no sugar. Moreover, sweetened plant milk is often made with natural sugars.

4. Plant-based milk has less fat than dairy milk, and the fat vegan milk does contain tends to be mono-unsaturated. Monounsaturated fats help protect your heart by preserving "good" cholesterol and decreasing "bad" cholesterol in the blood.

5. Plant-based milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. This is useful for those with lactose intolerances or cardiovascular problems. 

6. All plant-based milk contains fibre, while dairy milk does not. Fibre is essential for healthy digestion. 

What is the difference in the types of plant-based milk? (848 words)

Almond Milk

almond milk

Created in the 13th century, Almond Milk is the O.G. of plant-based milk.

Almonds are rich in proteins, lipids, soluble sugars, minerals, fibers and antioxidants. This leaves a healthy load of potential benefits of drinking almond milk such as controlling blood lipid levels, decreasing the risk of heart diseases, preventing anemia and protecting against free radicals. 

Almond milk has a thinner texture than most nut milk and is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. Almond milk is low in calories (around 30 calories for the unsweetened variety). It is also high in vitamin E (especially in comparison to dairy milk).

Almond milk has the nuttiest flavour of all nut milk. For nut lovers, this often makes Almond milk the best plant-based milk to use in hot chocolate or smoothies. It is also great for baking.

Soy Milk

Soy milk

First used in the 14th century, say hello to another old and legendry vegan milk. Soy milk

Soy is often considered one of the best types of plant-based milk as it is packed with protein. Soybean seeds are good sources of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals and contain no cholesterol. Moreover, most brands fortify soy milk with B12, which is great for those following a plant-based diet.

Soy offers a smooth, neutral flavor and one of the great types of vegan milk to use in cereal, baking and cooking. Soy milk has a tendency to curdle in hot coffee so is best in cold coffee or coffee with low acidity.

Oat Milk

oat milk

Oat milk, a newer player in the plant-based milk scene, but its growing popularity proves it a solid contender in the fight for the best plant-based milk.

Oats are highly nutritious, containing many vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and antioxidants. Oats are high in fiber, offer a decent source of protein and help keep you full. Oat milk is relatively low in calcium, so is best consumed alongside high calcium foods, such as leafy greens, or other types of vegan milk fortified with calcium.

Oat milk has a creamy texture and mild taste making it a great substitute for both sweet or savory recipes. Oat milk also has a thick texture and froths easily, making it the best plant-based milk to order in your coffee at your favorite spot.

Coconut Milk

coconut milk

Introducing the tropical leader of the vegan milk gang, Coconut milk. She well deserves her spot as one the richest and thickest types of plant-based milks going. 

Coconut milk is one of the best plant-based milk for those with common allergies such as tree nuts and soy, and is a popular option for those on keto diets.

Coconut milk is higher in fat than most types of plant-based milk, and even contains lauric acid, a substance found in human milk that has been linked to energy, brain and immune system improvements! Coconuts are rich in dietary fibers, vitamins C and E, and minerals, packing coconut milk with potential anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-carcinogenic benefits.

Light, subtly sweet and nutty, coconut milk is perfect in hot chocolates and milkshakes to satisfy that sweet tooth. It is also perfect for use in creamy sauces, soups, or sweet desserts.

Cashew Milk

cashew milk

Another front runner in the race of vegan milk. Cashew milk delivers the perfect balance of a wonderfully creamy consistency, a soft, sweet flavor and low calories. 

Cashew milk is packed with nutrients containing healthy fats, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Cashew milk tends to be a bit thicker than other types of plant-based milk. This makes it perfect for making ‘cheesy’ recipes, like vegan mac n’ cheese or delicious cheese-like sauces.

Hemp Milk

Hemp Milk

Elegantly earthy, nutty and quirky - welcome Hemp Milk to the vegan milk game. 

Once considered a thicker, creamier and less grainy version of soy milk, hemp milk has a velvety texture and a gentle, slightly sweet flavor. 

Made from shelled hemp seeds, hemp milk has the benefits of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids; making it a great option for those looking to increase their healthy fat intake. It is high in vitamin E, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibers, Hemp milk also naturally contains calcium, so no need for fortification.

Hemp milk is lower in calories, protein, and carbohydrates than dairy milk, but higher in protein and healthy fats than most other types of plant-based milk.

Less commonly used that other types of vegan milk, Hemp milk is the best plant-based milk if you want to switch things up (and don’t worry it won’t get you high …)

Rice Milk

rice milk

Rice milk. Suitable for those with lactose, soy, nut and gluten intolerance, Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of all the plant-based milk and an all-around crowd-pleaser.

Rice milk has a very thin texture with a light taste and is naturally sweeter than most plant-based milk. It is the best plant-based milk to use in recipes that you want to be inclusive and allergen-friendly.

Rice milk is high in carbohydrates, so is one on the perfect types of vegan milk to mix in with your favourite pre or post-workout drink.

In a nutshell - What is the best plant-based milk? (112 words)

So there you have it - the brief introduction we all need to the different types of vegan milk. But, which is the best plant-based milk? 

For us at PlantX, choosing the ‘best plant-based milk’ will always be a matter of opinion. It depends on intolerances, personal flavor and texture preferences and what you are using the milk for.

So, next time you’re shopping for a new type of plant-based milk, don’t be scared to try out a few options. It doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach. When there are this many delicious options to choose from, don’t constrain yourself and get experimenting (it’s what we vegans are known for after all!)