Plant-based diet plans are becoming popular among health-conscious people and the general population because of their ability to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. The main aim of these diets is to reduce the consumption of animal-based food and increase the consumption of plant-based food. Most people transition to vegetarianism or veganism by gradually replacing animal-based food products with vegetarian or vegan alternatives. One of the first items many replace is cow’s milk and they replace it with plant-based milk. The purpose of this article is to explore different types of plant-based milk.
Soy milk is the most widely used plant-based milk worldwide; it is used as a traditional drink in China. In western countries, it has become an almost default alternative to cow’s milk, especially among young and health-conscious people. It is available in the readymade form in supermarkets and grocery stores, or you can make it at home using dried soybean and water. For the latter case, an appliance called a soymilk maker can be used. Pure soy milk can be used for replacing dairy milk in tea, coffee, shakes, baking, and cooking.
100 ml of soymilk contains 54 kcal, 6g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fat, 3.3 g of protein. Due to its lower fat content, it is less thick than cow’s milk. Besides, it has a sweet taste with a malty scent. Also, it is a good source of folic acid, healthy flavonoids, and saponins. Due to these reasons, soy milk is ideal for consuming as a beverage or to use as the main ingredient in drinks like tea, coffee, and milkshakes. Also, it is a good dairy milk alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
Almond milk has been used for various purposes since the middle ages; refreshing drinks were made using crushed almonds, spices, fruits, and water. Readymade almond milk is available from supermarkets and grocery stores, but they are made with low amounts of almonds. So, it is better to make this plant-based milk at home, as it will be tastier and more nutritious. Pure almond milk is an ideal ingredient for making desserts, shakes, and soups because of its creaminess from the fat content of almonds.
100 ml of almond milk contains 24 kcal, 3 g of carbohydrates, 1.1 g of fat, and 0.5 g of protein. Pure, homemade almond milk is mildly sweet, and it tastes slightly like marzipan. Fresh homemade almond milk is a healthy alternative to cow’s milk as it contains vitamin E, B vitamins, and iron. Also, you must know that readymade almond milk has lower nutritional content than cow’s milk, and it is more expensive.
Rice milk is made by boiling ground whole brown rice grains and then pressing it. The liquid thus obtained is fermented, filtered, and finally mixed with vegetable oil to emulsify it. As a result of this extensive processing, the original nutrients contained in the whole grain rice is left behind. So, manufacturers of rice milk add sugar, flavorings, salt, and supplements like vitamins and minerals. Because of this, rice milk can be used on its own, or it can be added into recipes instead of cow’s milk.
100 ml of rice milk contains 47 kcal, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, and 0.3 g of protein. It tastes watery, and it has fewer amounts of nutrients compared to cow’s milk. Also, nutritionists do not consider this plant-based milk a suitable source for calcium or protein.
Oat milk is one of the plant-based milk that can be easily made at home. For this, you boil oatmeal, blend it, and then filter using cheesecloth or sieve to collect the clear oat milk. In contrast to cow’s milk, it is low in fat, is cholesterol-free, and has high amounts of dietary fiber. Its flavor complements that of vanilla, cocoa, and cinnamon. Because of this, many coffee shops use it for making beverages, shakes, baking, and breakfast dishes; this is especially true in European countries.
100 ml of oat milk contains 41 kcal, 7 g of carbohydrates, 1.1 g of fat, and 0.6 g of protein. It has a strong taste of oats, and the consistency is like that of cow’s milk. A glass of this plant-based milk is a good source of minerals like magnesium, B vitamins, and a small amount of calcium. Also, keep in mind that industrially produced oat milk contains preservatives, salt, sweeteners, flavoring agents, and vegetable oil. So, homemade oat milk is better than the readymade ones available at home.
Ingredients To Look Out For When Buying Readymade Plant-Based Milk
Buy unsweetened and unflavoured plant-based milk if it is available.
Most plant-based kinds of milk are thinner because of their lower fat content. So, manufacturers add additives like vegetable gums, salt, and carrageenan for getting a smoother and thicker texture.
On a final note, buy plant-based milk fortified with vitamins and minerals. Because in their pure form, they have lower nutritional content than cow’s milk.