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Plant based milk is certainly not a new concept. Soy milk has been around a long time, then came choices like almond milk and coconut milk. Now, there are many, many different plant-based kinds of milk out there.
In 2019, the plant milk market was worth more than $12 billion and is only expected to grow quite a bit.
Not all plant milk is created equal in terms of nutrition or taste. And some, in our humble opinion, are better for certain things.
But they all have some things in common. They’re all dairy-free, lactose-free, and vegan.
Plant Based Milk Options
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk has long been a popular non-dairy milk choice. It’s light and creamy and pretty versatile.
A downside is that almond milk tends to be the most water-dependent milk of plant milk. Compared to dairy milk, however, it is still a far superior choice regarding efficiency. It takes over 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of cow’s milk, whereas it takes 920 gallons of water to produce one gallon of almond milk.
Best for: smoothies, cereal
2. Oat Milk
Oat milk became popular following the creation of the Swedish brand Oatly. It’s one of the best milk alternatives.
It is higher in calories, but it’s also fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients. Oats naturally supply things like potassium and iron, which promote healthy blood pressure levels and prevent anemia respectively.
Oat milk causes less environmental damage than cow’s, almond, or rice milk.
Best for: coffee, smoothies, baking, alone
3. Soy Milk
Soy milk is a tried and true option for a reason. It’s thick and creamy and makes. a great dairy milk alternative.
Soy is also not problematic, as we’ve been led to believe. It contains phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that help balance and control estrogen levels. In comparison, dairy milk actually contains estrogen. In a 2020 study, it was found that women who drank cow’s milk increased their relative risk of breast cancer by up to 80 percent.
Best for: baking, coffee
4. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk used to be my favorite before oat milk came along. It’s very creamy and delicious. It also is fairly low in calories and carbs.
Best for: smoothies, oatmeal, coffee
5. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is light, refreshing, and has a hint of coconut flavor unless you’re very sensitive to coconut flavor.
It has one of the lowest carbohydrate and protein levels of dairy milk alternatives. It does have a high-fat content, however.
Canned coconut milk is entirely different. It’s super thick (almost solid) and is much bolder in taste. This is perfect for curries and sauces.
Best for: smoothies
6. Potato Milk
Potato milk is made from peeled potatoes that are sliced, boiled, and blended with other ingredients. There aren’t any store-bought brands available yet (in the US).
Potato milk is thick, creamy, and slightly sweet. It’s also a great sustainable choice that requires less water and natural resources than other plant milk.
Best for: coffee
7. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is devoid of gluten, soy, and nuts, making it ideal for people with allergens. It’s also fortified with vitamins and minerals. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 properties making it unique in the plant-based milk world.
Hemp milk is thick, creamy, and slightly nutty. It works great for savory dishes such as casseroles.
Best for: cooking savory dishes, cereal, oatmeal
8. Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut milk is fairly high in calories, fat, and carbs and low in protein. However, it does have a delicious sweet, and nutty taste. It’s also got great antioxidant and omega-3 content.
Best for: baking, smoothies, coffee
9. Sesame Milk
Sesame milk is described as creamy and has a thick texture similar to soy.
Best for: coffee, overnight oats, smoothies
10. Pistachio Milk
Pistachio milk has a slight butter flavor. It tends to be higher in healthy fat, making it great if you’re trying to put on weight or bulk up.
Best for: bread recipes, smoothies
11. Flaxseed Milk
Flax milk has a great dose of omega-3s. Flax milk is has a nutty taste while being nut-free.
Best for: smoothies, coffee, savory recipes
12. Pea Milk
Pea milk is made of yellow split peas and is an allergen-friendly option. It has a smooth taste, thick texture, and high protein content.
Best for: vegan cheese and creamy salad dressing recipes
13. Macadamia Milk
Macadamia milk has a fairly neutral taste, is naturally sugar-free, and has plenty of healthy fats.
Best for: coffee, smoothies, desserts
14. Rice Milk
Rice milk has actually been around for a long time as well. It’s got a thin consistency and is low in fat.
It’s also a solid allergen-friendly choice and contains a good amount of B vitamins, manganese, and selenium.