There are few things more enjoyable than a cold glass of milk served next to a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately, an estimated 75 percent of the population is unable to enjoy this tasty treat, or any form of dairy for that matter, due to being lactose intolerant.
People who are lactose intolerant are unable to consume milk because their bodies no longer make the enzymes needed to digest it. If dairy is consumed accidentally, the individual may experience many uncomfortable side effects ranging from nausea to severe stomach cramps. Because of this, many choose to drink dairy-free milk alternatives. This is also a popular choice among vegetarians and vegans who are looking to eliminate animal products from their diet.
(Quantaties of dairy & lactose intolerances vary for each individual)
Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives
While there are dozens of dairy-free milk alternatives on the market today, the following five are ranked highest based on overall taste and nutritional value.
It might seem weird to drink milk that comes from grains but the concoction is surprisingly tasty. Containing no lactose, this brand of milk is stamped with both the vegan and vegetarian mark of approval. It also has the added benefit of being made from whole grain rice, guaranteeing that there is a healthy amount of protein in every glass.
Because rice milk is made from actual rice, the liquid is much thinner and sweeter than regular cow milk. This makes it perfect for cereals, coffee, and icing recipes.
The downside to rice milk is that, while it does contain a healthy amount of protein, it lacks calcium. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem when purchasing the Rice Dream brand as the product has been specially fortified to contain all the same vitamins and minerals as cow milk. The milk also includes vitamin D2 to help aid in calcium absorption.
Rice Dream milk is also offered in chocolate and vanilla flavors. Organic rice milk may also be found at select stores.
Real Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has long been the ‘go to’ product for vegetarians and vegans everywhere. Not only is the product completely free of lactose, but it can also be found at most grocery stores, usually in the baking department. This is because the liquid is richer and creamier than cow milk, making it the perfect substitute when baking desserts or preparing fancy drinks.
While there are many benefits to drinking coconut milk, it does contain a high amount of saturated fat. This makes the product unhealthy to drink on a daily basis. The milk also tastes strongly of coconut, which not everyone enjoys.
Oat Dream Milk
Consuming oats on a regular basis has been linked to stronger immune systems, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, and a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. If that’s not reason enough to give oat milk a try, it also contains a high level of fiber and protein. This makes it one of the more healthy alternatives to drinking cow milk.
While different brands will vary slightly, Oat Dream remains a popular contender thanks to the added calcium, lack of artificial additives, and rich creamy taste. This means that, while the milk can certainly be baked with, it’s more commonly drank straight from the glass. This makes it the ideal beverage for cereal, cookies, cake, and more.
So Delicious Coconut Milk
While coconut milk itself may not be the healthiest dairy alternative, coconut beverages have been designed to reduce the amount of fat and sugar the drink contains while remaining tasty. In particular, So Delicious Coconut Milk is praised for having a mild coconut taste while remaining rich and creamy just like the real thing.
So Delicious Coconut Milk is also available in multiple flavors, including mint, chocolate, vanilla, and eggnog.
Almond Dream Milk
Another healthy alternative to drinking cow’s milk is Almond Dream. Of the dairy-free alternatives, almonds are the richest in antioxidants, vitamins, and calcium. Another benefit to drinking almond milk is that it has a very mild taste, especially in comparison to other dairy alternatives such as soy or coconut.
Of the many options on the market today, almond milk is the most like cow’s milk. In fact, the only differences between the two are the slightly thinner consistency and the creamier taste. Both these traits have made the liquid a favorite substitution in ice cream.
These products are my best dairy-free alternatives. Everyones palates are different, so as a general rule of thumb, try a wide variety of dairy-free products and find the handful that suite your tastes and culinary needs.