No Dairy? No Problem!

Posted on February 6th, 2019

Now more than ever people are ditching dairy in favor of non-dairy alternatives. Whether it’s a trendy, you’re lactose intolerant, or you have a milk allergy, it looks like dairy alternatives are here to stay. In just a few years, the market has grown from to feature many different options to suit personal preference and nutritional needs.  There are so many options to choose from it can get overwhelming, so I thought I’d break them down for you!

Soymilk

Soymilk has been available for many years and therefor a very common option to most shoppers. In one 8 ounce serving there are 8 grams of protein and added calcium and vitamin D. Many brands fortify with additional calcium and vitamin for bone health.

Almond Milk

Almond Milk is lower in protein than cow’s milk, offering 1 gram of protein per 8 ounce serving. But almond milk offers vitamin E and added calcium and vitamin D. This is a widely available option for those who do not prefer soy milk or are allergic to soy. Almond milk is very popular as a low calorie flavored beverage for smoothies or adding to your breakfast cereal.

Flax Milk

Flax Milk is made from flax seeds which are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax milk offers 0 grams of protein per 8 ounce serving and 1300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. It is currently recommended for adults to get 1100 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily. Omega-3 fatty acids are the ‘good’ fats that can help improve heart health, decrease inflammation, and boost brain health.

Pea Milk

Pea milk is a more recent addition to the milk alternative section. This option offers 8 grams of protein per 8 ounce serving.  Additionally, there is algae oil to add omega-3 fatty acids.

Cashew Milk

Cashew Milk is a creamy option, but offers less than 1 gram of protein per 8 ounce serving.  Cashew milk is a great option for non-dairy baking to maintain desired textures in cakes and muffins.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is a lighter flavor option that offers 1 gram of protein per 8 ounce serving and added calcium and vitamin D.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a creamy option with calcium and vitamin D. Coconut milk does not have protein, but is great for option for baking or coconut fans.

For comparison, a glass of 2% cow’s milk offers 8 grams of protein per 8 ounce serving. Cow’s milk also has naturally occurring calcium and is fortified with vitamin D. Non-dairy alternative must fortify (add) calcium and vitamin D in order to be comparable.

If you want to make the switch to non-dairy options, soymilk is the most comparable. The available protein is easier for us to digest and absorb as well, as also having calcium and vitamin D. If you’re looking for soy-free option, pea milk is a also a great option. It is higher in naturally occurring protein and offers omega 3 fatty acids.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Compare nutrition labels, pay attention to protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  Lastly, have fun! Experiment and try different milks to find out what you prefer. You might just surprise yourself!

About the Author

Christyna Johnson is a dietetic intern at Oklahoma State University. She loves to read, running, and playing with dogs.

Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy diet. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian’s opinions and recommendations are of their own; they are not paid to endorse any products.