Milk alternatives: Choosing the right one for you

Published 9:53 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lactose-free, dairy-free, plant-based — the demand for these products is on the rise — especially for people with dairy or lactose intolerances and anyone trying to include more plant-based foods in their diet — making the best choice can be daunting and tricky.

To help you decide what’s best for you, here’s a look at the major differences among some popular options.

Choose the right milk alternative

Cow’s milk

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At 8 grams per cup, this option provides a high-quality protein without added thickeners. It’s also a rich source of calcium and is fortified with vitamin D. However, because lactose is the main sugar in cow’s milk, it may not be suitable for someone who is lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy.

Almond milk

A mixture of water and ground almonds, unsweetened versions of almond milk are often lower in calories and carbohydrates than cow’s milk, plus they contain a small amount of good-for-you monounsaturated fat and vitamin E.

Most are fortified with calcium and vitamin D and are lactose-free, non-dairy, and suitable for vegan diets.

However, almond milk lacks protein, containing only about 1 gram per cup. It’s also not suitable for nut allergies.

Soy milk

With soy milk, you get a natural boost of protein—around 8 grams per cup. Plus, it’s fortified with calcium and vitamin D and contains iron and other nutrients.

It’s a good substitute for anyone allergic to dairy or who is lactose intolerant, but it’s not suitable for someone with soy allergies.

Coconut milk

This coconut-flavored milk alternative is dairy-free and lactose-free. The milk itself is also soy- and nut-free, but it may be produced in a factory that processes these things. Check the label carefully if you have allergies. While the type of saturated fat in coconut milk is a medium chain fatty acid that’s easier to digest than other saturated fats, it should still be consumed in moderation.

Look for brands that are enriched with calcium, vitamin D, B12 and are unsweetened or low in sugar. Also keep in mind that it lacks protein.

Plant Powered Mint Chip Shake

Serves 1


•1 packed cup baby spinach

•1 large banana, cut into chunks and frozen

•1 cup Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Plant Protein Milk

•¼ cup fresh mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig for garnish

•¼ teaspoon mint extract

•Vegan whipped cream, optional

•1 tablespoon finely chopped dark chocolate or cocoa nibs

•1 cup ice cubes


1. In a blender combine spinach, banana, milk, ice cubes, mint leaves, and mint extract and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with optional whipped cream, dark chocolate or cocoa nibs, and mint sprig.

Nutrition facts per serving: 280 calories, 6g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 29g sugar, 13g protein