Drinking dairy-free milks increases your consumption of the plant foods that your body needs to thrive! While there are many varieties of non-dairy milk available on local grocery store shelves, look for one that is unsweetened and has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D. A good dairy-free milk should contain at least 200 milligrams of calcium per 8-ounce serving.
1. Hemp Milk.
Even though this alternative milk is made from seeds of the cannabis plant, it does not contain any of the compounds that give marijuana its psychoactive properties. However, it is packed with 10 essential fatty acids, like omega-3s and omega-6s. These essential fatty acids give you a healthy heart, brain, and skin; promote digestive function; and help your body to create the energy it needs. Your body cannot produce essential fatty acids. You can only get them from your diet. Hemp is also one of the most sustainable crops on earth, so drinking hemp milk is great for the environment.
Hemp has a unique, slightly grassy flavour, similar to sunflower seeds. It pairs well with greens or prepared salads and can also be swapped for dairy in desserts that have a strong flavour, like pumpkin bread or banana cake.
Try this recipe for banana pancakes: Combine, ? cup of white flour, ½ cup of whole wheat flour, 1 Tbsp of baking powder, and ¼ tsp of salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1 ? cups hemp milk and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, just until everything is moistened. Then fold in 1 medium banana that has been finely chopped. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a hot griddle or frying pan that has been well greased. Turn once. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
You could also make a delicious side dish of coleslaw, swapping hemp milk for the mayonnaise called for in your recipe. Look for hemp milk with 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fibre, and 3 grams of protein per serving.
2. Rice Milk.
This dairy-free milk is usually made with a mixture of milled rice and water. Rice milk is the most allergen-friendly milk alternative and is great for people who cannot tolerate dairy, soy, or nuts. Rice milk has no saturated fat or cholesterol and is often fortified with vitamin A, vitamin B12, and phosphorus. These additions are great for your eyes, bones, teeth, and waistline.
Rice milk is the easiest dairy-free milk to incorporate into your favourite recipes. Its slightly sweet flavour makes the perfect addition to any recipe, from sweet to savoury. Try making French Toast. Whisk together 2 eggs, ½ cup of rice milk, ¼ tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp vanilla. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp butter to grease the pan. Dip one slice of bread into your french toast batter and then place on the griddle or pan. Cook until evenly browned on both sides, turning once. This should take 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup or fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Rice milk is also delicious in cornbread. Simply swap equal amounts of rice milk for the milk in your favourite cornbread recipe. Look for rice milk with 70 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar.
3. Coconut Milk.
This dairy-free alternative is full of vitamins, minerals, and medium-chain fatty acids. A study from American Diabetes Association found that medium-chain fatty acids, like those in coconut milk, might help to prevent obesity. Coconut milk is full of essential minerals like iron and potassium and vitamins like folate and niacin. This non-dairy milk is also super-creamy, giving it a decadent texture.
Coconut milk is an excellent replacement for dairy milk in your favourite milkshake recipes. Puree 8 ounces of sliced strawberries with 2 Tbsp sugar in the blender. Add 4 ounces of softened dairy-free vanilla or strawberry ice cream and 1 cup of coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Divide between two glasses and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Coconut milk also makes a delicious base for curry dishes. Look for coconut milk with 45 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of fibre and 1 gram of sugar.
4. Almond Milk.
If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight, this is the alternative milk for you! Unsweetened almond milk contains one-third of the calories of skim milk. One serving of almond milk contains half of the vitamin E your body needs each day. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that your body needs to protect it from sun-related skin damage. Studies have shown that almonds could improve your heart health by lowering your blood cholesterol.
The nutty flavour of almond milk makes it perfect for desserts or smoothies. It is also delicious in dips and soups. Try making an almond milk frozen coffee drink. Simply blend 1/12 cups crushed ice, 2 ounces of espresso or strong coffee, ¾ cup almond milk, and 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup. Process in the blender until smooth, about 30-45 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Look for almond milk with 30 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of fibre, and 1 gram of protein.