Here are the five most widely available—and very diverse—milk substitutes. Before we start, let's look at what you're leaving behind when you give up dairy. A 1-cup serving of regular skim milk has 90 calories, 125 milligrams of sodium, 8 grams of protein, 30 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, 25 percent of your RDA of vitamin D, phosphorus, and riboflavin, and 16 percent of your RDA for vitamin B12. That same cup of skim milk also contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, 11 of which are sugar.
Now let's compare the other milks. Keep in mind that these are all vegetarian/vegan-friendly, gluten-free alternatives.
Despite soy milk's popularity, there is some controversy surrounding it. More than 90 percent of all soy beans in the U.S. are GMOs. (genetically modified organisms)
Also, soy products like soy milk contain phytoestrogens chemicals that tend to act like estrogen when introduced to the human body. (Not good for us guys) There are a lot of studies on this subject but most contradict each other. One study suggest that phytoetrogens could cause or prevent cancer.
I don't drink it at all because I think it's overly processed and cost way to much.
2. Rice Milk. The popular brands are enriched with calcium and other nutrients found in dairy milk but they also come with a variety of additives, sweeteners and flavors.
3. Coconut milk. If you're a fan of Thai food or pina colada , chances are, you've had plenty of coconut milk in your lifetime. Coconut milk is not the watery liquid found in the center of the coconut, which is known as coconut water (the stuff you hear sloshing around inside when you shake one). The rich, creamy stuff that's extracted from the white coconut flesh nutmeat itself is coconut milk.
Until recently, a cup of coconut milk contained at least 500 calories, most of which was saturated fat, but now low-calorie coconut milk has begun finding its way onto grocers' shelves. A typical 1-cup serving has about 150 calories, most of which is still saturated fat. It has 3 grams of protein, 45 milligrams of sodium, 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin B12, 30 percent of the RDA of vitamin D, and 10 percent of the RDA of calcium and magnesium. If you're a vegan looking to get more vitamin D in your diet, this stuff might help, but keep in mind that you won't be getting any protein from it and you'll be getting a lot of fat.
4. Almond milk. This is one I can live with. Nutritionally, a 1-cup serving will have anywhere from 50 to 80 calories, depending on how much water has been added. Although it has minimal protein, it does have 25 percent of the RDA of vitamin D, 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin E, and 150 milligrams of potassium, along with some manganese, selenium, and many other trace elements.
There are a wide variety of fortified store-bought brands that all taste pretty good—sweetened, unflavored, or otherwise. I stick with regular organic almond milk. I love Almonds so Almond milk is my favorite and it’s quite versatile too, but it is low in protein.
5. Hemp milk. This may be harder to find but Places like Trader Joe's® or Whole Foods Market® are your best bet for hemp milk. (Sorry this will not get you high.) Although, the U.S. is pretty much the only country in the world that doesn't allow hemp seed cultivation, even though there's no drug content in it. All hemp seed in the U.S. is from Canada; so it's guaranteed to be organic and pesticide-free.
I consider hemp seeds a super food because even a small amount can go a long way nutritionally. A 1-cup serving of hemp milk has approximately 110 calories and has 24 percent of the RDA of iron, 72 percent of the RDA of magnesium and phosphorus, 35 percent of the RDA of zinc, plus 11 grams of omega-6 fatty acids, 4.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and 16 grams of protein.
I hope this helps you with your choice and cuts back on some of the guess work. Most of these you can use in any recipe that requires regular milk. Nutrition: 1-cup serving has approximately 80 to 90 calories, mostly from sugar. Although it's popular, I wouldn't settle on rice milk as a truly complete and healthy alternative to regular milk, unless I was mixing it with Shakeology®. Store-bought brands will be more nutritious, but will contain a lot of sugar.