Here’s How to Choose the Best Vegan Milk

Sarah Von Alt|
February 22, 2018
Here’s How to Choose the Best Vegan Milk

If you’re new to dairy-free living, choosing a vegan milk can be overwhelming, since grocery stores and cafes have more delicious plant-based varieties than ever.

Reports from around the world show that consumption of animal milk is on the decline. In fact, consumption of cow’s milk in the U.S. has fallen a whopping 40 percent since 1970, while U.S. sales of dairy-free milk alternatives have soared by 30 percent since 2011. And Americans aren’t the only ones making the switch. According to a press release by Innova Market Insights, the global market for plant-based milk is expected to reach $16.3 billion in 2018. This is up from $7.4 billion in 2010.

There’s no way around it: Plant-based milk is here to stay. So without further ado, here are 10 delicious dairy-free alternatives to cow’s milk. Be sure to try a few to find your favorites!

Almond Milk

Almond milk is one of the most popular dairy-free options and is incredibly versatile. Try it on cereal, with cookies, or by the glassful! And it’s super easy to make your own! While it packs a decent punch when it comes to calcium, almond milk isn’t a great source of protein or fiber.

Soy Milk

Perhaps the most widely available vegan milk, soy milk is packed with protein—seven grams per cup! Soy milk is great when you need some extra creaminess in lattes, but it can really be used in nearly any recipe that calls for cow’s milk.

Rice Milk

Light and refreshing, rice milk is a great alternative for those avoiding soy or nuts. It is low in calories and best enjoyed with cereal or by the glassful. Note that it isn’t great for adding creaminess to recipes, as it’s so light.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk has recently gained popularity, and for good reason: Like soy milk, it’s super creamy and rich in protein! Cashew milk is great for most recipes, including savory ones, but tends to be a little pricier than other choices.

Coconut Milk

This milk is super rich and creamy, loaded with healthy fats, and perfect in desserts and curries. You can even use it to make your own vegan ice cream! But coconut milk typically has a stronger flavor that is likely to stand out in recipes (so be sure you’re OK with this).

Note that canned varieties are WAY thicker and aren’t great for drinking, but they’re awesome for making vegan whipped cream!

Hemp Milk

Creamy and packed with calcium, hemp milk is great in many dishes or in your favorite smoothie. Hemp milk is typically on the thinner side and has a flavor that goes better in savory recipes than in sweet ones.

*Remember to choose unsweetened varieties for savory dishes!

Oat Milk

Void of saturated fat, oat milk contains five grams of protein per cup and is loaded with fiber. Oat milk is naturally sweet, making it great for baked goods like cakes and cookies.

Flax Milk

Naturally free of cholesterol (like all dairy-free milk), flax milk contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cognitive function. Flax milk is also a good source of calcium but contains no protein. It tends to be thinner than other varieties, such as soy and cashew.

Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut milk comes in original and chocolate flavors and is great in drinks or light desserts. Plus, it’s easy to make your own! Hazelnut milk is not the most versatile, because of its stronger flavor, but it’s perfect in coffee beverages.

Pea Milk

Yeah, I know it might sound a little weird, but pea milk is actually quite good—AND it may be the most nutritious of all vegan milks. It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium, and omega-3s, and it has fewer calories than cow’s milk!

Ready to give vegan eating a shot? Click here for meal ideas, easy recipes, and tips on making the switch.

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