All the alternatives to cow's milk you can try

Susannah Hickling 31 January 2022

With record numbers having tried Veganuary this year, are you one of the many thinking of ditching cow's milk? Have a look at these options

Supermarket shelves are stocked with a dizzying array of the white stuff, both dairy and non-dairy. How to choose?

Cow’s milk

Dairy milk is what most of us still pour on cornflakes and into our tea and coffee. Packed with proteinnecessary for energy and overall healthand calcium, which builds stronger bones, it’s part of a balanced diet. The downside is it’s full of fat.

To get round that, choose skimmed or 1 per cent milkyou’ll get the same levels of nutrients. In fact, skimmed milk contains slightly more calcium than whole fat milk.

Oat milk

This is the most popular of the plant-based milk substitutes, which are drunk by vegans, people with a dairy allergy or intolerance, and sometimes out of simple preference for the taste, though you should always buy unsweetened versions.

Oat milk has a lot going for it: it’s low in heart-harming saturated fat, high in fibre and calcium, and might help lower cholesterol. But it’s lower in protein than cow’s milk.

Almond milk

This drink is low in calories and saturated fat, and high in vitamin E, important for healthy skin and eyes.

On the other hand, it has a very low protein content and doesn’t offer the same heart-health benefits as actually eating a handful of almonds.

Soya milk

If you want a plant-based drink that’s similar nutritionally to dairy milk, then soya milk is probably your best choice.

It has plenty of protein, and studies have shown soya protein may lower cholesterol. It’s lower in saturated fat and calories than milk, but doesn’t offer the same calcium content, unless fortified.

Rice milk

It’s very low on fat, especially saturated fat, but unfortunately contains paltry amounts of protein.

It also has more natural sugars than other plant-based drinks.

Other options

Made from yellow split peas, pea milk is good from a protein point of view, but some people might be allergic.

Hemp seed milk is low in calories, carbs and saturated fat, but also low on protein. Coconut milk contains little protein and is high in fat, especially saturated fat.

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