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Looking for Dairy Milk Substitutes? These 5 options will make you go nuts!

Who says milk has to come from cows or even mammals for that matter? Consumers have increasingly sought out dairy milk substitutes from plant fibres, whether it is due to lactose intolerance, allergies, personal beliefs in veganism, or a desire to reduce their carbon footprint. Many of these kinds of options are enriched with supplemental vitamins and minerals (especially calcium and vitamins B-12, D, and A). Nonetheless, their core ingredients also offer various nutritional benefits. 
Milk plays quite an essential role in our lives, thanks to its versatility in recipes and great nutritional profile. Nut milk like almond, soy, hemp, coconut, and others has become a craze amongst vegans and people with lactose intolerance.

Here are 5 popular dairy milk substitutes you can make at home and/or can procure from a store near you. 


Made from ground almonds and water this milk has a nutty flavor and thinner consistency than cow’s milk. it is highly nutritive and tasty. Almond is a common allergen but many of those able to drink it find it palatable and a suitable dairy alternative. Although much of the fibre present in almonds is lost during production, the extract still retains much vitamin E that protects cell membranes. Remember though that while almond milk is the lowest in calories among all these alternatives, it is also low in protein, at only one or two grams per cup, and consists mainly of water rather than the nutritious nut. To reap the full benefits of almonds, it is more efficient to eat the nut rather than drink the milk.  However, as a substitute, it resembles dairy milk closely in colour, taste, and texture.    

Almond milk can be made at home very easily. It can be sweetened or consumed as such, added to tea, coffee, and dessert recipes.  

“Almond milk can be substituted in your tea and coffee without any compromise on taste!”

Coconut as a dairy milk substitute

Milk Alternatives Beyond Dairy- these 5 non dairy milk substitutes are great options for the lactose intolerant and vegans

Many people confuse the liquid made from coconut cream(malai) with the actual coconut milk, which is made from the coconut’s flesh(giri). The canned form available off the shelves is for cooking purposes.

The one available in cartons is for drinking. It is creamy and of a thicker consistency than dairy milk. With 5 grams of saturated fat, coconut is the highest in fat content out of all these alternatives. However, the fat in coconut milk consists of MCFA or medium-chain fatty acids. MCFAs are more easily metabolized than the longer fatty acid chains found in meat and dairy products that raise blood cholesterol. According to research done in Switzerland, MCFAs found in coconut can actually increase metabolic rates. Coconut milk contains lauric acid which may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. With many promising benefits, a glass of this dairy milk alternative contains around 25 per cent of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat. Hence, it should be consumed in moderation.

It has around 50-80 calories per cup and if you buy it off the shelf instead of making it at home, many of them are fortified with calcium. However, it is very simple to make at home, easy to digest, and an energy booster.


Milk Alternatives Beyond Dairy- these 5 non dairy milk substitutes are great options for the lactose intolerant and vegans

Probably one of the most widespread dairy milk substitutes, soy milk has made a foothold and can be found not only in health food stores but also in conventional supermarkets. Soy milk is an attractive replacement for cow’s milk because of its high protein content with an average of eight grams of protein per cup equivalent to 14 per cent of your daily value. It boasts of by far the largest amount of protein among these alternatives. Additionally, soy protein is complete, meaning that it contains all the essential amino which necessary for human nutrition. Soy may also reduce your LDL or “bad cholesterol levels which can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. A cup of soy milk provides about eight per cent of your daily recommended value of iron and 20 per cent of manganese.

You can find it easily in the market, without preservatives as well, and in many flavours. As a regular consumer, you can make it at home very simply and in large quantities.


Hemp milk is a newer milk alternative that gained popularity in 2006. It is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The hemp plant is a variety of Cannabis sativa which is grown for its fibre, not any psychoactive effects. Hemp milk is a widespread product in the European Union and Canada. It is made from the seeds of a different strain of the Cannabis plant and not with what is used to make the drug. Hemp milk has very negligible amounts, or none at all of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound associated with marijuana. In fact, a 2001 study published the Journal of Analytical Technology confirmed that individuals who consumed excessive amounts of hemp foods were well below the level of THC needed to test positive in a drug test, and deemed it safe for human consumption. Hemp contains all the essential amino acids though it isn’t a big source of protein with only 3 grams per cup. It is a great dairy milk substitute with a significant amount of calories and fat and is low in saturated fat boasting of the ideal 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While these plant-based fats may not be as beneficial as the DHA and PAs found in fish cells, they do aid in brain development and are related to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Rice as a dairy milk substitute

Milk Alternatives Beyond Dairy- these 5 non dairy milk substitutes are great options for the lactose intolerant and vegans

You guessed it right…it is made from rice! Since it is made with brown rice, it is high in a great source of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, selenium, and vitamin D. It has low protein content, but is cholesterol free, and great for those with nut or soy allergy. It has a thin consistency and is hypoallergenic, making this dairy milk substitute a safe option for many. It helps prevent heart disease and maintain healthy blood cells. Although a majority of minerals are lost during the manufacturing process, most brands fortify it with calcium and protein to compensate for this loss. Rice milk is the least fattening of the other dairy milk substitutes listed here, with only 1-2.5 grams of fat per cup. One cup of rice milk can have up to 33 grams of carbohydrates which is two to three times more than some other substitutes.

Rice milk has a high sugar content and is a poor source of protein-only 1-2 grams per cup-makes it better suited for cooking rather than a frequent milk replacement.

It can be prepared at home avoiding the use of preservatives.

A word

With so many different options for milk, feel free to try something new in your meal this week. By exploring various plant-based milk options you might find an alternative that fits your dietary needs. Regular cow’s milk is highest in calcium, protein, and vitamin but if you are lactose intolerant and like to mix things up or try something different, see which one of these you like best!

One response to “Looking for Dairy Milk Substitutes? These 5 options will make you go nuts!”

  1. […] Such people need to consume protein and calcium from other sources. One may also look at other kinds of non-dairy milk. Consume more lentils, beans and nuts. If these are not possible, go for protein & calcium […]

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Welcome to Meenu Arora’s Blog.

This blog is my way to share health and lifestyle pointers that promote a way to live a beautiful life.