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The Other Milk

Choosing plant-based milks

For those who can’t tolerate or prefer to avoid cow’s milk, plant-based milks are a great way to enjoy dairy-like creaminess.

All plant-based milks are made similarly. Nuts, seeds or grains are soaked in water and blended until very smooth, then strained for a creamy drink. There’s an extra step in making quinoa milk – the quinoa is first cooked, then blended with water and strained.

How do you choose a plant-based milk? It depends on your dietary preferences and taste. If you’d like a fruit smoothie with added protein, go with soy milk. Have a sensitive stomach? Try rice milk. Coconut milk is a versatile choice that works in both sweet and savory dishes. Hazelnut milk makes an excellent foam for specialty coffee drinks.

Chilled or Shelf-Stable?

Plant-based drinks are available in shelf-stable packages or in the refrigerated dairy case. Selection may vary by store. Because non-dairy beverages tend to separate during storage, shake the container before each use.

You get the same quality and taste in both chilled and shelf-stable packages. Unopened shelf-stable products can be stored up to 6 months in the pantry, saving you refrigerator space. Prefer chilled milk? Put shelf-stable milk in the fridge for a few hours for a refreshing drink.

Shelf-stable products are heated to 280°F for 2 seconds to kill harmful bacteria, then put into sterilized boxes with several layers that protect the contents from light and oxygen.

Almond

Almond milk is a low-calorie option and has a nutty flavor that pairs well with granola and cereals (1).

  • Unsweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 39
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 0g

Oats

Smooth and mild, oat milk is delicious in coffee or baked into muffins. It also adds creaminess to sauces and savory dishes.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 19g

Quinoa

Quinoa milk is creamy, nutty-flavored and a quality gluten-free grain milk. Try it over cereal or granola, or add cocoa powder for the kids.

  • Unsweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 2g

Soy

Soy milk is a good source of protein, providing almost as much as you’d find in dairy milk (1).

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Sat fat: .5g
  • Sugar: 1g

Rice

Rice milk is great for those who have sensitivities to other milks. It has a mild, naturally sweet taste that goes well with smoothies or cereals.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 113
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 13g

Hazelnut

Hazelnut milk has the delicate taste of hazelnuts, which makes it delicious in coffee as well as sweet treats and vegan ice creams.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 110
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 3.5g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 14g

Cashew

Low-calorie cashew milk makes a naturally sweet addition to coffee and oatmeal, or use it to make creamy vegan salad dressings.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: <1g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Sat fat: 0g
  • Sugar: 7g

Coconut

Versatile and rich, coconut milk can be added to coffee, baked goods, and ice cream, or savory dishes like rice and curries.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 45
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Sat fat: 5g
  • Sugar: 0g

Hemp

Creamy, nutty hemp milk is an alternative for those who have nut and dairy sensitivities. Try it in desserts and soups.

  • Sweetened serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sat fat: .5g
  • Sugar: 0g

Nutrient data collected August 4, 2016, from USDA Food Composition Databases at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search and manufacturers’ product labels.

(1) US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current: September 2015, slightly revised May 2016. Internet

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