5 Healthy Dairy Alternatives

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If you or your kids are lactose intolerant or looking to replace dairy in your diet for health reasons, the options available can be a little overwhelming. In fact, in the 2015 Indy Moms Survey, 42 percent of Indianapolis moms said that a lack of information makes it difficult to know just what is healthy. In response, here are five healthy alternatives to dairy, and the pros and cons of each.

Almond Milk

  • Pros: Almond milk, like the almonds that it’s made of, is very high in nutrients like protein. Usually, it’s fortified with other nutrients commonly found in dairy products like calcium. Almond milk has a slightly nutty taste.
  • Cons: Almond milk often lacks the full creamy texture of cow’s milk. The texture of almond milk is similar to skim milk. If you suffer from nut allergies, this may not be the milk alternative for you.

Soy Milk

  • Pros: When most people think of dairy alternatives, they think of soy milk. Made from soybeans, soy milk is high in nutritional value, and is a tried and true favorite of those who eschew milk.
  • Cons: Soy milk is high in nutritional value, but does not taste much like actual dairy milk. Instead, it has distinct soy flavor that some find off-putting.

Hemp Milk

  • Pros: Hemp milk is made from hemp plants that are naturally high in fiber. Many claim that the flavor and texture of hemp milk is more similar to regular milk than other dairy alternatives.
  • Cons: Like many dairy alternatives, hemp milk’s nutritional profile is not a good match for the nutritional value in dairy milk. If you choose to drink hemp milk, you will need to get protein elsewhere.

Coconut Milk

  • Pros: Coconut milk has a creamy texture similar to cow’s milk. It also has a slightly sweet, coconut-y flavor.
  • Cons: Low in protein and certain other nutrients found in regular milk and dairy products.

Rice Milk

  • Pros: Rice milk doesn’t contain lactose or cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy alternative to cow’s milk. Rice milk isn’t very sweet naturally, but is often sweetened with vanilla.
  • Cons: Rice milk is high in carbohydrates and low in protein and calcium. This essentially makes its nutritional profile the opposite of cow’s milk.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to choosing the best dairy alternative, the best choice comes down to personal preference. Try a few dairy alternatives and find the one that’s best for you.

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