It seems like milk is in just about everything these days. It’s the main ingredient of cream, cheese, and yogurt, it’s poured over your morning cereal, it’s stirred into teas and lattes, it’s the base for various desserts, and it’s used to thicken sauces. Countless recipes recommend adding milk to your smoothies for an extra boost of calcium and nutrients. Question is how can you get those same vitamins and minerals in some plant-based options?
When you go to the grocery store, it seems like all you see is rows of cow’s milk. But with a little searching, you’ll find that there’s a whole world of healthy plant-based milk that’s just as creamy, nutritious, and versatile as the real thing. In fact, once you’ve had a sip of plant-based milk, you might find that you enjoy it more than the original! Here’s a quick rundown of the various types of vegan milk products on the market.
1. Soy Milk
Soy milk is the classic dairy-based alternative. Originally marketed as a product for people with lactose allergies, soy milk is made from boiled and filtered soybeans. This product looks and tastes like dairy milk, and has much fewer fat and calories. Most brands are fortified with nutrients so you can still get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. And unlike dairy milk, this product doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s open, making it a self-stable product that can last for months. However, it does require refrigeration once it’s been opened.
If you have the time, you can even make it at home using two ingredients: water and soybeans. But, if you’re like me, it’s much easier to pick it up from the grocery. I’ve put some options you can order directly from whole foods! Feel free to support the site by using the links 🙂
2. Almond Milk
Almond milk is another popular plant-based milk that’s graced grocery store shelves in the past few years. Almond milk is thinner than dairy milk and has a slightly nutty flavor. Some people actually prefer it over dairy milk because it tastes like a milkshake. You can drink it straight from the glass or use it as a dairy milk substitute in various recipes. Many people add it to smoothies because the nuts add an extra boost of protein. Like other plant-based products, this milk doesn’t have to be refrigerated before it’s opened.
If you have the patience you can make it at home with almonds and water. I would suggest trying to add different flavors to make it tastier. The other option is just by it from any major grocery store. I’ve made it easy for you and put some links that you can directly order via Whole Foods. 🙂
3. Oat Milk
Oat milk is one of the newcomers to the healthy plant-based milk industry. This product is made with a base of oats and water, although commercial brands add vitamins and minerals to give it extra nutrients. If you have a nut allergy, this is a great way to get a milk replacement in your diet. Oat milk is also infused with the natural power of oats, which are loaded with fiber, iron, and protein. Pour it in your afternoon tea and enjoy!
You might be able to find this product at your local grocery store, but it’s more likely that you’ll find it at specialty stores. You can also order it online and use the links below. 🙂
4. Coconut Milk
While coconut milk is typically used as an ingredient in tropical dishes and desserts, it also makes an excellent cow’s milk substitute. Coconut milk does have more fat and carbohydrates than other plant-based options, but it’s still healthier than traditional dairy products. This product is sweet and fruity and has the tropical flavor of real coconut. You can drink it by itself, add it to fruity cereal, or use it in a base in Eastern-inspired soups, sauces and curries.
You can find this product at some grocery stores, though it’s typically marketed as an ingredient more than a milk substitute. You can also make it at home by blending and straining a mixture of shredded coconut and water. Essentially, you’re drinking coconut purée.
5. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is another newcomer to the world of healthy plant-based milk. If you don’t like almond-based milk, cashew milk is known to be faintly sweet and milder. The basic flavor profile make it perfect for adding to smoothies or lattes, or adding your own flavoring when you make cashew milk at home. Cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, and turmeric are just a few of the flavorings you can add to make your plain cashew milk a decadent treat. Commercial brands are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals, making this product a healthy way to start your day.
This product can be difficult to find in chain stores, but you might be able to find it in a vegan or health food store. You can also order it online or make it at home with cashews and water.
6. Rice Milk
It seems like you can do just about anything with rice–and now we can add rice milk to its long list of uses. A single glass of rice milk is full of nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. This product is made from a mixture of rice and rice syrup that’s sweetened with sugar of vanilla. It tends to be less creamy than other plant-based substitutes, but it has a unique flavor that can’t be beat. If you’ve tried everything else on this list and weren’t satisfied, maybe it’s time to give rice milk a shot.
You might be able to find rice milk at the store, but you’ll probably have better luck searching for it online. If you’ve got brown rice sitting around at home, you can also whip up a batch yourself.
7. Flaxseed Milk
Flaxseed milk hasn’t quite caught on with the mass market, but it’s a simple milk alternative that’s crammed with nutrition. A glass of flaxseed milk is full of nutrients like omega-3s, fiber, and protein. Unlike most plant-based products, which tend to be sweet, flaxseed milk has an earthy, nutty taste. It tends to be a hard sell because it doesn’t have the same appearance as dairy milk, but if you like the taste, you’ll find that it doesn’t matter. Drink a glass in the morning and enjoy the natural boost of nutrients.
You might be able to find the brand Flaxmilk at your local specialty food store. And like most plant-based products, flaxseed milk can be easily made at home with only a few basic ingredients.
8. Pea Milk
Yes, you read that right–you can get “milk” from peas! It might sound like you’re about to drink a pea soup smoothie, but pea milk is actually made from flour made from yellow peas. It has a smooth, creamy flavor and offers an additional choice for people with nut, soy, or gluten allergies. When you take a sip, you won’t even realized that this product was made from vegetables. You can add it to recipes just like dairy milk, although it might slightly alter the taste.
You can order commercial brands like Ripple online, or–if you’re lucky–find it at a nearby health food store. You can also make pea milk at home, using the same method for making nut milks.
9. Hemp Milk
When all else fails, there’s always hemp. For centuries, hemp has been praised for its myriad of uses as food, clothing, medicine, and even a building material. And now you can enjoy a tasty glass of hemp milk in the morning. You can flavor it with sweeteners like dates, chocolate, or vanilla, or simply enjoy it by itself. Like most plant-based products, it has a slightly nutty flavor.
You can find hemp milk products online or even make your own version at home with hemp, water, and your choice of flavoring or sweetener.
There is so much to try out there when it comes to plant-based milk options. For me and my family it becomes an adventure everytime we go to the grocery. in case you’re looking for some recipes to use for your plant-based milks be sure to check out some of recipes.