With more exposure to the disturbing practices in the dairy industry, and a growing number of people experiencing discomfort on a diet heavy in dairy products, plant-based milks are popping up everywhere from Whole Foods to Walmart. Hell, we've seen chocolate almond milk at gas stations. Not only have they grown in popularity, they're also a healthier, much more sustainable alternative to dairy milk.
Incorporating plant-based milks into your diet is a great way to get a plethora of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and yes, protein.
This is probably the most widely used dairy-free alternative. With its light flavor and creamy texture, its versatility shows in smoothies, coffee, cereal, and baked goods. Fortified soy milk provides 50% MORE calcium than dairy milk, 110 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 50% of your recommended daily value of B12, which is essential for a healthy brain and nervous system.
Best part? This sucker provides 8 grams of protein (more than an egg) in one glass, so it's an excellent idea to incorporate this into your meal after a gnarly workout.
With its thinner texture, almond milk can help make a great smoothie, tastes amazing in cereal, and hey, if you're looking for the perfect vegan option for dunking Oreos, almond milk is here for you. Sure, it's got only 1 gram of protein, but hey, like soy milk, it also provides 50% more calcium than dairy milk, and it's also a great source of vitamin E. Almond milk clocks in at 60 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
Okay, so coconut milk doesn't really have any protein. Don't worry, you'll live. Besides, it's a great alternative for diabetics if you get the unsweetened kind, especially if you're monitoring your carbohydrate intake. Fortified coconut milk also provides half of your recommended daily amount of B12.
You'll go coco-NUTS for the refreshing flavor as well! Yes, that was lame, but you cracked a smile, admit it.
Ever had an ice-cold glass of sweet horchata on a hot day? Odds are you've had it with rice milk. If you love carbs, first of all, welcome to the club. Secondly, a glass of rice milk provides 22 grams of carbohydrates, so throw it into a smoothie for an extra boost of energy before taking on the day or pushing through a workout. Rice milk is yet another great way to get a quarter of your daily intake of calcium, vitamin D, and B12.
Give rice milk a go when prepping a Latin or Middle Eastern dessert calls for dairy milk. Try it. We dare you.
If you're into all things thick and creamy, then here's your savior. Cashew milk is a godsend when it comes to vegan sauces and silky beverages. Besides, fortified cashew milk can provide 50% more calcium than dairy milk, along with 20% of your recommended vitamin E (which is essential for immunity and cholesterol reduction).
We know what you're thinking: "Oh my God, they're milking cashews now? What are they gonna do next, make milk out of oats or something?"
Apparently vegans will go to great lengths to enjoy something that kind of looks like milk, even if it means turning a breakfast food into something you can enjoy with...breakfast food. Oat milk has a bit of a nutty taste and tastes heavenly in a smoothie. Plus, with 4 grams of protein per serving, it's the dairy free alternative with the second highest amount of protein, with soy being the number one source.
This carbalicious beauty clocks in at 130 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrates. Plus, those of you with anemia, oat milk provides 30% of your daily value of riboflavin, which is essential for the metabolism of iron.
What is your favorite type of plant-based milk, and what do you like to use it in? Let us know in the comments below!
-The Vegan In Sweatpants