Got Milk: Alternatives?

Losing taste for cow’s milk? Here are a few alternatives approved by Legacy dieticians.

by Ashley Guidry

For centuries, cow’s milk has been used in many cultures. Milk is the source of all dairy products and contains almost every single nutrient our body needs. This includes water, carbs, sugar, and a rich source of protein. Cow’s milk in particular has been shown to have a positive effect on bone health and has many nutrients. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the consumption of milk alternatives. This trend in switching out regular milk for a substitute is due to people having milk allergies, lactose intolerance, dietary restrictions such as veganism, or health risk concerns. So, here are a few milk alternatives for those looking to make a change in their dairy consumption:

    • Soy Milk: An option great for those with nut allergies. Not so great if you have a soy allergy. A popular alternative, soy is a non-nut-based milk substitute that’s low in saturated fats and high in protein. Its taste is closest to cow’s milk and more balanced nutritionally compared to the other alternatives.
    • Coconut Milk: Despite the name, coconut is not an actual nut, so people with nut allergies can drink it. Coconut milk has more saturated fat and is higher in calories than other alternatives and contains calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.
    • Almond Milk: It’s rich in vitamin E and lower in calories. A great alternate for a vegan diet. However, not a wise choice if you have a nut allergy.
    • Cashew Milk: Again, not the best for those with nut allergies. However, if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, it’s a rich nut-based alternative with a creamy taste. It’s also low in calories and contains vitamin E.
    • Rice Milk: Great for those with allergies to the substitutes listed above. It has a natural, sweet taste and is lactose free. In stores, it’s labeled as a “rice drink” since by FDA standards the word “milk” may only be referred to dairy beverage from a cow. It is low in nutrient value unless vitamins and calcium are added to the drink. Rice drink is high in carbohydrate and is not the best milk alternative for Diabetics.
    • Oat Milk: Recently, oat milk has risen in popularity. For those with dietary restrictions, it’s naturally dairy, lactose, soy, and nut–free. It comes with added calcium and vitamin A and D. It also has more iron and carbohydrates.

When deciding on an alternative, choose based on your personal preference and dietary restrictions. Feel free to experiment and taste these alternatives to see what suits your own personal taste. Keep in mind that not all milk alternative brands are nutritionally fortified, so read the label whenever possible. Nevertheless, before making any serious dietary changes, please be sure to speak with your provider.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment with us, please visit us online or call (832) 548-5000.