Hi Leah Renee!
I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately at all the milk options at the grocery store. Some of my friends drink almond milk, some drink soy. Which kind of milk is best? Are all milks created equal? ~Nel, RI
The milk section of the grocery store seems to have spread from a small refrigerated area to now taking up an entire aisle of the grocery store (in addition to the refrigerated area)! More options always lead to more confusion. Too many choices! Not only are there different kinds of milk to choose from, there are different variations of them too! Should I get whole milk? Low fat? Skim? Vanilla? Unsweetened Vanilla? Almond milk? Oh, wait, there’s a combo of almond and coconut! My head is spinning already. To top if off, there are so many different brands all promising theirs is best! No wonder why it’s tough to know if we’re choosing the “right” one.
The truth is there’s no “right” one. Some people do very well on dairy for instance and others have bad reactions, or choose not to have it. If you’re anything like me, I just rotate ones I like. When I select milk, I make sure it aligns with my principles. That means non-GMO, organic, contains the least amount of ingredients, preservatives, and additives, and low in sugar.
Here’s a breakdown of many different kinds of milks on the market to help cut down your time in the milk section:
- A nutritious, allergy-free alternative to cow’s milk*
- Contains high levels of calcium and protein for strong bones (a cup of goat’s milk supplies 32% of the daily value for calcium—higher than cow’s milk at 27%)
- Easy to digest (and great for babies with colic and/or frequent vomiting)
- Been known to prevent migraine headaches (it is a natural anti-inflammatory)
- High in potassium which is important in maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Promotes energy production (from the Riboflavin otherwise known as B2) and heart health
- Can be great for babies and children
- Nutrition Facts (one cup): 89 calories, 2.4g fat, 9.4g sugar, 7.39g protein
On another note, Goat’s Milk soap is INCREDIBLE. It leaves your skin so silky smooth, I love it!
Fun Fact: About 65% of the milk consumed around the globe comes from goat’s milk.
*allergy free is not always 100%. Most people that cannot tolerate cows milk can have goat’s milk.
- A good alternative to cow’s milk since it does not contain lactose
- Provides vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron
- Fortified soy milk contains vitamin D (helps with calcium absorption and good for immune function), B12 (for energy), calcium, and potassium (great for muscles and nerves)
- If you choose the chocolate or vanilla versions…well…you get a healthy(-er) treat. Also available in regular, unsweetened, and organic.
- Depending on the one you choose, in can contain less calories and sugar than cow’s milk. Regular versions tend to be on par with cow’s milk as far as calorie and sugar content goes.
- Choose the organic variety. Just say no to GMO’s–and from what we’re told organic does not contain any.
- Nutrition Facts (one cup of Unsweetened): 80 calories, 4g fat, 2g sugar, 7g protein
- Another good alternative to cow’s milk (no lactose)
- Low calorie content
- Limited affects on blood sugar levels
- Contains 50% of the daily allowance vitamin E, great for the skin
- A great form of Calcium (not only because of almonds themselves, but it’s fortified)
- No cholesterol
- Great if you follow a vegan diet
- Easy to also make your own (DIY!) with 4 parts water to 1 part almonds. Soak them first!
- Not a good source of protein
- Nutrition Facts (one cup of unsweetened): 40 calories, 3.5g fat, 0g sugar, 1g protein
Tip: Pour your almond milk into an ice cube tray for homemade ice cream and smoothies!!!
What you get:
- A high-carb alternative to cow’s milk or if you have soy allergies
- Free of cholesterol and saturated fat
- Fortified versions will give you some calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium though not to the extend of other options
- A smooth, mild taste
- Not a good source of protein
- Nutrition Facts (one cup): 120 calories, 2.5g fat, 10g sugar, 1g protein
What you get:
- A great amount of calcium and vitamin D; studies show calcium-rich dairy foods have the ability to boost the body’s burning of fat after a meal
- A good source of protein
- A good source of riboflavin (B2) and B12, both great for energy production
- Can help promote thyroid function with its iodine content
- A good source of vitamin A
*Just like soy milk, it’s really important to select organic milk free of added hormones.
*Raw Cow’s Milk can be found in some health stores across the country and farmer’s markets. It contains many health benefits including all 20 standard amino acids. Many people who find it difficult to digest milk may notice they’re able to digest raw milk without any problem at all. That decision is up to you, as consuming raw anything can come with its risks. The pasteurization process eliminates those risks but it also eliminates many of the beneficial qualities raw milk contains.
Nutrition Facts (one cup of 2%): 120 calories, 3.5g fat, 12g sugar, 8g protein
*There are different varieties from whole milk to non-fat and the nutrition facts will vary depending. More fat = less sugar. Less fat = more sugar.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- All 10 essential amino acids
- No Cholesterol
- Vitamin A, Vitamin D, B12, Vitamin E, iron, and calcium because it’s fortified
- Has an earthy taste
- Vegan friendly
- Nutrition Facts (one cup, unsweetened vanilla): 70 calories, 6g fat, 0g sugar, 2g protein
*Hemp Milk has a very earthly taste. Great to use as the base liquid for smoothies. I’ve personally had some very decent tasting mint chip hemp ice cream. Yum.
- A tasty dairy alternative
- Nut free, gluten free, vegan
- A low calorie beverage that’s great for smoothies or a yummy alternative for sugary drinks = weight loss!
- A range of vitamins and minerals. It contains a substantial amount of B12 (energy!), magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
- Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). There is not a negative effect on cholesterol and can help protect against heart disease. Potential weight loss & control.
- Versatile use and makes for a creamy beverage or great in recipes.
- Nutrition Facts: 50 calories, 5g fat, 1g sugar, 1g protein
What kind of milk is your fave??