Plant-Based Milk Guide: Everything You Need To Know
With so many options for plant-based milk on the market, you might be wondering: “Which one is the best one for me?” Luckily, there are a ton of delicious and nutritious options to choose from.
Although plant-based milk is different from cows’ milk, they do a great job at replacing this type of milk in all dietary forms. It is beneficial to know each type of plant-based milk’s nutrition and flavor profile to help you find the right one.
With plant-based milk, it’s important to read the nutrition labels as some manufacturers also fortify their milk with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D (see our blog post here) or B12. These fortified options can offer up important nutrients, some similar to what is found in cow’s milk.
Reasons to try them out? Plant-based Milk is cruelty-free, lower in fat (except for coconut), and generally better for the environment. With over 68% of the world’s population intolerant to milk, it’s no wonder so many people are making the switch to a plant-based option.
Types of plant-based milk
The O.G. of plant-based milk, almond milk is very low in calories (around 30 calories for the unsweetened variety). It has the nuttiest flavor of all nut milk and is high in vitamin E. Almond milk has a thinner texture than most nut milk and is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s great for use in baking and smoothies.
Classic plant-based milk on the scene, soy, is a great option since it is packed with protein. It is nutritionally the closest to cow’s milk but contains fewer calories and fat. Most brands fortify soy milk with B12, which is great for those following a plant-based diet. Soy offers a very smooth, neutral flavor and can be used for baking and cooking.
Oat milk is a newer player on the market, but its popularity is for a good reason! Its creamy texture and mild taste are a perfect addition to lattes. It also works great as a substitute in sweet or savory recipes. While higher in carbs and lower in protein than most plant-based milk, it contains soluble fiber, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer.
A creamy texture and mildly sweet, cashew milk tend to be a bit thicker than other nut-based milk. It’s quite versatile for cooking and is low in calories, and carbohydrates. Most brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D to boost the nutritional value.
The richest and thickest of the plant-based milk, coconut is a great option for those with common allergies such as tree nuts and soy. It offers up a very light, naturally sweet flavor but is higher in fat than most plant-based milk. Coconut milk is a popular option for those on keto diets. Great for use in creamy sauces, soups, or sweet desserts.
Made from shelled hemp seeds, hemp milk has the health benefits of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids; therefore it’s a great option for those looking to increase their healthy fat intake. Hemp milk also naturally contains calcium, so no need for fortification. It has a creamy consistency and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s a good replacement for any beverage or recipe that calls for cow’s milk.
The most hypoallergenic of all the non-dairy milk. Rice milk has a very thin texture with a light taste and is naturally sweeter than most plant-based milk. It is higher in carbohydrates, and so it can be a great option for a pre or post-workout drink.
Next time you’re shopping for plant-based milk, try out a few options. It doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach. There are many different delicious options to choose from; they may be better suited to what you’re whipping up.