Milk is the best source of calcium and vitamin D for our bodies. It promotes healthy bones and teeth too. But what if you’re lactose intolerant? Lactose intolerant means you can’t digest lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products. What can you use on cereal in the morning or for baking? Here are some solutions for milk alternatives.
Almond milk is a beverage made from ground almonds. It does not contain any animal products, is cholesterol and lactose-free. It is slightly beige in color and often has added vanilla and sweeteners. Historically, almond milk was used in medieval kitchens because it had a long shelf life and did not spoil.
Almond milk has less protein than cow’s milk, but it is rich in nutrients including fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, and calcium. Almond milk is available in unrefrigerated cartons with the Blue Diamond or Silk brand label.
Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from grated coconut. Coconut milk is used in many tropical cuisines and as a base for curries. Coconut milk works well in baked goods and can be found canned or in cartons in the milk aisle. It has a high saturated fat content, but is rich in vitamins C, E, B vitamins, and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Rice milk is usually made from brown rice and comes unsweetened. It is generally thinner in consistency than nut milks or soymilk, and it has a lighter, sweeter flavor that is good for use in cereal or coffee. Compared to cow’s milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, does not contain cholesterol nor lactose and does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein. Commercial brands of rice milk are often fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Soymilk is not technically milk, but rather a beverage made from soybeans. It is the liquid that remains after soybeans are soaked, finely ground, and then strained. The earliest existence of soy milk is evidenced in a kitchen scene on a stone slab from China that dates to 25AD. Soy milk is very prevalent in Asian households and is used to make tofu. “Sweet” and “salty” soy milk are both traditional Chinese breakfast foods, served either hot or cold, usually accompanied by steamed buns. One cup of unfortified soymilk contains almost 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 4½ grams of fat, and no cholesterol. Although soymilk supplies some B vitamins, it’s not a good source of B12, nor does it provide a significant amount of calcium.