Gone are the days that the word milk refers exclusively to the cow’s milk that we were told ‘does a body good’ for decades. As more people seek tasty and sustainable alternatives to dairy milk, options like almond and hemp milk have become more widely available. In fact, the demand for non-dairy alternatives has increased so much so in recent years that most coffee shops, espresso and smoothie bars and restaurants offer a variety of options.
Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just exploring your options, it’s important to know the variables among different types of milk because one may better suit your needs than another.
The taste of almond milk is described as nutty and slightly sweet. Its texture is closer to that of water than dairy milk. Made from ground almonds, water and sweeteners, this non-dairy option does not contain as much protein as cow’s milk.
The nutritional profile of almonds includes:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin E
- Healthy fats (monounsaturated)
Easily digested by the human body and a great source of protein for vegans, hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, water and sometimes sweetener. Hemp milk has a thinner, watery texture, and its taste is also described as being slightly sweet and nutty.
Hemp seed is known to provide the following nutritional value:
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (support healthy brain function.)
- Folic acid
- 10 essential amino acids (protein)
- Vitamins A, E, D, and B12
Both almond and hemp milks can be used in place of dairy milk in most cases. It is not recommended to substitute them when baking, but they can be used in coffee, cereal, oatmeal, smoothies and the like.
Beware of Added Sugar
Non-dairy milks can quickly become more unhealthy when certain sweeteners are added in large quantities. Just because a non-dairy milk is labeled as being vanilla flavored does not automatically mean that it is high in sugar, so be sure to read the ingredients before choosing a brand.