Whether you are lactose-free for medical reasons or personal reasons, knowing the best options for how to get your cereal in or flavor up your cup of coffee is important to anyone on the fitness train.
We have found and compared the 6 best options to play cow milk’s understudy in your fridge.
- Almond Milk: Dairy-free (of course) made from the skin of almonds ground finely with water and then filtered. One of the best perks about almond milk is that it is one of the cheapest milk alternatives and slight nutty flavor boosts the taste of your protein shakes and smoothies.
- Pros – Low in saturated fats and calories, high in Vitamin E
- Cons – Contains emulsifiers, which might lower the amount of healthy bacteria in your stomach leading to inflammation of bloating. ***However, this evidence is NOT conclusive and has not been fully proven.
- Soy Milk: We all have heard of soy milk, it was the first mainstream alternative to cow’s milk. It is made by cooking and crushing soybeans then sifting out the liquid. As unappealing as that sounds, take solace in that manufacturers have gotten rid of the chalky, bean flavor to make it smooth and tasty.
- Pros – Soy milk is the king of protein when it comes to dairy alternates, also it is a great source of potassium.
- Cons – Men are weary of too much soy milk because of it’s estrogen mimicking effects. Also, soy can make you gassy, as well as some of the cheaper brands can be GMO so if that worries you, go organic!
- Cashew Milk: Of all the alternatives to cow’s milk, this options one of the newest however closest to actually mirroring real milk in texture and flavor.
- Pros – Low calorie count, filled with calcium, Vitamin D & B-12, and Zinc. However the jury is still out on how well your body can absorb nutrients added to drinks like cashew milk over natural cow’s milk.
- Cons – Essentially, you are drinking an extremely watered down version of a cashew, so you won’t be getting the same amount of nutrients.
- Hemp Milk: This is one of the more unique flavors that takes getting used to. Hemp seeds blended with water, but don’t worry, you’ll be safe for a drug test.
- Pros – Higher levels of Omega-3 fats than any other non-dairy alternative. Also, a great source of iron.
- Cons – Extremely common to be made with intense sweetness or high amounts of sugar. Make sure to get the “unsweetened” version of any non-dairy alternative.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut flesh milk and water blend together to create this tropical inspired drink. It’s less intense than the coconut milk from a can and closer to a skim milk texture.
- Pros – Compared to it’s full-fat canned counterpart, coconut milk is far less heavy in calories, fats, and saturated fats. Also, the MCFAs (Medium Chained Fatty Acids) are said to be able to increase your metabolism and help with weight loss.
- Cons – Lack of protein than cow’s milk, less flavor than canned coconut milk, more saturated fat than other non-dairy products.
- Rice Milk – Made from bleeding cooked rice and water together then adding enzymes to turn starts to sugars. It’s smooth texture and taste make it very popular for mixing with coffee or smoothies.
- Pros – Rice is hypoallergenic so it’s pretty safe for almost anyone. Also, rice milk is mostly now fortified with Vitamin D and calcium.
- Cons – Rice milk tends to have higher levels of carbohydrates that other milk drinks. Also, and keep in mind this is a stretch, but some rice is harvested with small levels of arsenic, meaning that there is the mild and slight potential it could end up in your glass (more of a “have to say it” situation than a real warning).
There are so many options out there for you to choose from when it comes to cow’s milk alternatives, we hope that we have shed some light on some of the best!