Looking for the best vegan milk options? These non-dairy milk alternatives will hit home as the best dairy-free milk picks!
While I love a glass of milk, I also think nut, seed, and grain milks are delicious and can be great additions to my meals, snacks, and recipes.
But with so many different dairy-free milk alternatives out there, choosing the right one can be challenging.
Not every alternative milk features the same nutritional benefits, for starters. Don’t worry! I’m about to clear up all the non-dairy milk confusion for you.
Why drink vegan milk?
If you asked a vegan eater or someone with lactose intolerance what they use to replace milk 20 years ago, there’s a big chance you’d only get one answer: soy milk.
But nowadays, coffee shops almost always have almond milk and oat milks on hand, in addition to standard soy.
And brand new non-dairy milks made from out of out-of-the-box ingredients are now showing up at the grocery store on a regular basis. These alternative milks aren’t just for vegan eaters or folks who have lactose intolerance, folks.
With so many options on the market, how can you possibly decide which one to pour in your cereal or add to your smoothie?
In this post, I’m laying out all the facts on on the best vegan milk options to help you decide which drink is best for you, including their nutritional benefits and their best uses. Let’s get started!
The best vegan milk to try
Now, even more alternatives to cow’s milk are crowding supermarket shelves.
Here, I’m covering three uniquely creamy best vegan milk varieties. All these alternative milks didn’t come out of thin air. In fact, the rise of plant-based eating has played a huge role in creating dairy-free versions made from grains, nuts, and seeds.
So out of the crowded field, which ones come out on top? Here are a few to consider.
Try them all, and you may find that your go-to pick depends on your individual taste and texture preferences––as well as what amount of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, you’re looking for.
1. Best barista milk
A barista oat milk is my go-to for making a coffee-based drink. If you’re gluten free, it’s important to shop for an oat milk made with gluten-free oats. The milk is also a good option for people with nut allergies.
A cup of oat milk typically has around 110 to 130 calories, 2 to 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Some varieties are fortified and may contain nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
2. Best milk for adding to smoothies
It’s typically fortified with several vitamins and provides about half your daily intake of vitamin B12, a vitamin critical to nerve and blood-cell health.
To increase protein count, some milks contain ingredients beyond macadamia nuts and water, such as pea protein.
3. Best low-calorie option
It’s hard to find in stores, though, so consider blending your own.
4. Best vegan milk for cooking
The alt milk naturally has a small amount of iron and calcium. You can stir it into pancake and French toast batters, as well as many other types of recipes.
5. Best high-protein milk
I like to add soy milk to a healthy coffee smoothie. Soy milk is one of the best vegan milks because it’s a complete protein, which means that your body can make good use of it.
A cup of unsweetened soy milk contains 80 calories, 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber—as well as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other nutrients.
6. Best minimal-ingredient-list milk
In a cup of almond milk, you could get around 45 percent of the daily value for calcium, 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12, and 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D.
A cup of almond milk can be as low as 30 calories. Look for unsweetened almond milk, as there’s no reason to take in any added sugar.
7. Best flavored milk
There’s a range of banana milks out there. Some contain no added sweeteners or are sweetened with just cinnamon, and others have quite a bit of added sugar. So the range of calories can be quite varied, from 60 to 150 calories per cup.
A cup of fortified banana milk can contain as much as 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
It can also contain as much as 30 percent of the daily value for calcium and may offer other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, potassium, and vitamin D.
How to make homemade vegan milk
If you want to blend your own vegan milk, go for it!
To yield about one cup of nut milk, simply rinse ¼ cup nuts (for a creamier milk, first soak them for 4 to 6 hours), blend with a cup of water, and strain through a cheesecloth.
For added flavor plus antioxidants, stir these mix-ins into one cup of nut milk.
- If you want vanilla milk…add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
- If you want chocolate milk…add 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
- If you want spiced milk…add ½ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon.
The bottom line
Many best vegan milk options exist, and choosing the right one for you depends how you’d like to use it and what nutrition you’re looking to get from it.
This blog post was updated in August 2022. A version of this content originally appeared in Yoga Journal.
I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite nut milks? What do you consider the best lactose-free milk and the best vegan milk?
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