Which brands of plant-based milk are best since there are so many options available? A few years ago, most non-dairy milk found in the grocery store included rice, soy, and almond but now oat, cashew, coconut, and hempseed milk can be found. It can be overwhelming deciding which one to try. Some of the non-dairy milk options are high in added sugar, contain artificial sweeteners, and several ingredients. It is best to review the ingredients in non-dairy milk and compare products, before choosing one. Check out my blog “Confused at the Grocery Store” for guidelines on food label ingredient tips. Remember, the food companies want to sell their product and therefore create beautiful packaging to present a healthy image. To make choosing a bit simpler, here are my top five favorite non-dairy kinds of milk.
Almond milk is probably one of the most popular plant-based milk and comes in a variety of flavors: vanilla, chocolate, a hint of honey, unsweetened, lightly sweetened. My personal favorite brand is Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. It contains no added sugar, no GMO’s, and is carrageenan free. Carrageenan safety has come under question and has been linked to increased inflammation in the body. It is an additive extracted from red seaweed and used to thicken and preserve foods and is often found in plant-based milk. While the jury is out on the safety of carrageenan, recommend choosing almond milk without it. The ultimate best option for almond milk is homemade, however, if that is not an option, give this one a try for a delicious taste and healthier option than others.
Interested in making your own almond milk? Watch this short video:
Soymilk is a bit creamier than almond milk and also has a higher protein content at 7 grams per cup versus 1 gram for almond milk. Soy milk is made out of the legume soybeans, When choosing soy milk, be sure to choose organic, because the majority of soybeans are genetically modified and also sprayed with the weed killer glyphosate. The top recommended soy milk is the brand Edensoy, which has organic, non-GMO, and natural ingredients along with eco-friendly packaging. Best to choose unsweetened, however, if you like sweetened, keep in mind that the sweetened ones such as vanilla or carob flavors have about 14 grams of sugar, which is 3 1/2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. A close second for soymilk options is Silk, Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Soymilk which is available in most grocery stores.
Conscious Nibbling Tip: If you like non-dairy milk on the sweet side, choose unsweetened plant-based milk and add 1 teaspoon of a natural sweetener, such as local honey or maple syrup.
Oat milk is a fabulous tasting creamy non-dairy milk alternative and is gaining popularity as an option in coffee shops. When purchasing oat milk, choose organic, because typical non-organic oats are sprayed with a weed killer that contains glyphosate, and the residues remain in the oats which are then absorbed into the body when consumed. In addition to organic, choose a brand that does not contain added phosphates such as tricalcium phosphate and dicalcium phosphates. Many processed foods contain phosphates and concerns have arisen about its safety. Top brand for oat milk is Thrive Organic Original Oat Beverage, which has only two ingredients: oats and water. Another option is Mooala Organic Coconut Oat Milk which is unsweetened and phosphate-free.
CASHEW, COCONUT & RICE MILKS
Unfortunately, the store-bought cashew, coconut and rice milk evaluated tend to have too many ingredients and therefore unable to recommend a brand at this time. However, the good news is that cashew milk is one of the easiest plant-based milk to make at home and is so, so yummy. It is one of my favorites and it has passed the kid test for flavor. For the recipe, check out my blog on making Cashew and Hemp Seed Milk
When choosing non-dairy milk, ignore the pretty package and check out the ingredients. Choose organic, soy and oat milk, along with phosphate-free, unsweetened, and minimal ingredients for oat, almond, and soy milk. You may have to try a few different flavors or brands before finding one that you like best. Plant-based milk may be swapped in for regular milk for cold cereals, hot cereals, smoothies, and coffee. for a healthier alternative.