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Monday, July 29, 2013

Six Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Manisha Vaidya

By Manisha Vaidya, MS, RD, LD

1.  ALMOND: often lower in calories and sugar than other milk alternatives, it is high in vitamin E and low in protein.

2.  SOY: thicker than other non-dairy milk alternatives, it has been the most protein to non-dairy milks and is good as a creamer in coffee.

3.  COCONUT: made of coconut “meat” blended with water. It has a higher fat content than other non-dairy milk alternatives and contains some saturated fat. Coconut beverage in a carton is best for drinking while the canned version is richer and good for making curries.

4.  OAT: provides fiber and iron, but is low in protein. It contains phytochemicals, which may help prevent heart disease.

5.  HEMP: made of soaked hemp seeds ground with water and contains omega -3 fats. This milk alternative is good in baked goods because it doesn’t have an obtrusive flavor.

6.  RICE: cholesterol–free and good for people with nut or soy allergies, but it is low in protein and high in carbohydrates when compared to other non-dairy milks. It is generally the thinnest non-dairy milk.


Tips for incorporating non-dairy milk alternatives into a diet include:

  • Substitute non-dairy milk cup for cup in recipes.
  • Make non-dairy buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of non-dairy beverage. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Choose “unsweetened “or “plain” varieties of milk alternatives for savory dishes.
  • Don’t freeze non-dairy milk.
  • Look out for carrageenan: Some people are sensitive to this seaweed-based thickener and stabilizer sometimes used in non-dairy beverages. Also be aware of added sugars.
  • Shake non-dairy beverages before serving as some of the solids (and nutrients) settle at the bottom.
Reference: Food and Nutrition Magazine: July/August 2013. Author Erin Sund, Food and Nutrition Magazine’s assistant managing editor.  
By Manisha U. Vaidya, MS, RD, LD
Manisha Vaidya, MS, RD, LD - Mrs. Vaidya is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with the UAB hospital. She coordinates nutritional assessment, re-assessment, diet education and plan of care for Bone Marrow Transplant, Hematology-Oncology and Geriatric unit patients. She is responsible for follow up with food preferences, patient care, calorie counts and diet education for cancer patients. Mrs. Vaidya can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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