Milk Map | What Are the Differences?

Milk- When we were kids it was cows milk. Period. Now at 33 years old it seems every time I am at the grocery store there is a new milk variety popping up. So how do we know what to buy, what is beneficial, and what each has to offer?

Here is a little ‘Milk Map’ to help get you in the know with the milk trends…by next week I’m sure there will be 7,983 new varieties (haha) out but this is a great place to start and what options dairy and nondairy have to offer.

Dairy packs the most protein. 8g per cup and gets you 30% of your daily calcium needs. Go for 2% over skim, which has less of fat-soluble vitamins A, D & E.

Almonds are a good source of protein and fiber, most of those nutrients are lost when the liquid is strained from the pulp to make the milk. What is left is immunity boosting Vitamin E and 35 calories per cup for the unsweetened variety

A safe choice if you have dairy, nut or soy allergies or intolerances. This grain based milk has more calories and carbs per serving than other milks on the market so make sure to track that with your macros/nutritional goals.

Hemp seeds contain heart and brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids but the milk can have a slight fishy taste so it’s best used as a mix in for baking, smoothies, etc.

One cup has half of your daily Vitamin E needs and it tends to be creamier than other nut milks so if thicker texture milk freaks you out, pass on this one. 🙂

A rich tasting non dairy option. The coconut offering beverages in the refrigerator cases at the store are made by mixing coconut “meat” with water (more than the canned version) Although it has no protein, it does have lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises your HDL (good) cholesterol more than it raises your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Made from crushed soybeans, soy milk has nearly as much protein as cows milk with 7g per cup. It’s plant base protein that might lower heart disease risk. Some experts believe soy products might be harmful in high amounts but the American Institute of Cancer Research has given it the ‘ok’ up to 2 servings a day (1 serving= 1C soy milk or 1/2C tofu or edamame) Look for a Non-GMO label. Soy and Corn are 2 of the most common genetically modified foods.

A few tips and info:
Not all non-dairy milks are fortified with calcium so be sure to check the label to know exactly how much you are getting.Watch the sugar. Many non-dairy milks even when labeled “plain” have added sugar. Make the unsweetened labeled versions an everyday staple.Mix it up. Think about rotating your type of milk you use to get a wide variety of nutrients especially if you have a dairy free diet.An option for the lactose-intolerant, “lactose-free” milk has lactase, which breaks down lactose into the more easily digested glucose and galactose.

Sources: Stephanie Middleburg, M.S, R.D, C.D.N & Willow Jarosh, M.S., R.D, C.D.N