I remember my first taste of almond milk. Clutching an enormous glass between unsteady fingers, I took a tentative sip of the pale liquid – and loved it.
Did I mention this event took place six months ago?
Despite being a registered dietitian, I’ve been slow to try foods and beverages with which I did not grow up. For example, I baked these Meyer lemon blueberry vegan scones for the first time only a few months ago. Since then, I’ve experimented often with gluten-free and/or vegan cooking and baking. After all, I’d like to know what I’m talking about with my vegan clients.
People choose non-dairy milk alternatives for many reasons. Perhaps they’ve decided to exclude animal products from their diets. Maybe they’re lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Or, like me, they’ve discovered how delicious almond milk is in their breakfast cereal. There are many non-dairy milk alternatives, including those made of soy, almond, rice, oat, coconut, hemp and flax. Which one is best? Answer: it depends.
Looking for protein? Try soy milk for 6 to 9 grams of protein per serving. Allergic to soy? Enjoy rice milk, which is one of the least likely non-dairy milks to cause an allergic reaction. If you’re looking for fiber, drink a glass of oat milk for 2 to 4 grams of fiber. Want plenty of omega-3 fats? Try hemp milk, which can have an entire day’s recommended amount of omega-3 fats in one serving. Those wishing to cut calories may enjoy almond milk, which contains only 30 to 40 calories per cup.
Choose fortified non-dairy milk alternatives to ensure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. And watch sugar and sodium: many non-dairy milks have added flavorings and salt. Look for one with no more than 12 grams sugar and 100 mg sodium per serving.
Even though I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant, I plan to enjoy non-dairy milks in cereal, baked goods and anything else I can imagine. It’s a tasty world out there, so drink up!
Q: Have you ever tried a non-dairy milk alternative? Which is your favorite?
P.S. The winner of the Bestowed giveaway is Elena Vo! Congratulations, Elena!