As people become more aware of our diverse range of food choices, alternatives to cow’s milk are increasing in popularity. Alternative milks are nutritious, often including the Vitamin D and calcium we usually see in cow’s milk, as well as other nutrients (see below). Be careful though; some brands lack nutritional value or are high in calories and sugar, particularly the vanilla and chocolate flavoured options.
Cow’s Milk (1%)
Per cup: 102 cal; 2 g fat (2 g sat); 13 g carbs (13 g sugars, 0 fibre); 107 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 12 g cholesterol.
Contains: Vitamin A and calcium.
Pros: Source of protein, calcium, familiar taste and texture.
Cons: Allergies, lactose intolerance, cholesterol.
Think your child might have lactose intolerance or maybe an allergy? Click here to read more about what to look for.
Per cup: 131 cal; 4 g fat (0 g sat); 15 g carbs (10 g sugars, 1 fibre); 124 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 0 g cholesterol.
Good source of manganese, magnesium, copper and selenium.
Contains: calcium and iron.
Pros: Zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol. Protein level is comparable to cow’s milk.
Cons: Some studies suggest over consumption of soy is related to some types of breast cancer because it is a phytoestrogen. A good guideline is not to exceed three servings of soy per day. Soy is also a common allergen. Because soybeans are bitter by nature, soy milk tends to be heavily processed and can be sweetened with added sugar. Can cause a lot of gas.
Per cup: 168 cal; 10g fat (7 g sat); 11 g carbs (11 g sugars, 0 fibre); 122 mg sodium; 9 g protein; 27 g cholesterol.
Contains: Vitamin A and Calcium.
Pros: Source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, tryptophan. Doesn’t need to be homogenized due to smaller particles, which may be why many people with lactose intolerance find it a digestible alternative.
Cons: High in fat and cholesterol.
Per cup: 120 cal; 2.5 g fat (0 sat); 23 g carbs (10 g sugars, 0 g fibre); 100 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 0 g cholesterol.
Good source of Vitamins D, B12 and phosphorus. Often high in calcium if enriched.
Pros: No saturated fat or cholesterol makes it heart healthy. Not a likely allergen, doesn’t contain lactose. Great pre/post workout drink due to carbohydrate and electrolyte levels. Naturally sweet so rarely requires sweetening.
Cons: Not recommended for people with diabetes due to the high carbohydrate level. Low in protein.
Per cup: 60 cal; 2.5 g fat (0 sat); 8 g carbs (7 g sugar, 1 g fibre); 150 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 0 g cholesterol.
Good source of Vitamins E, D and A as well as calcium. Good source of Omega 6.
Pros: Low in calories, high in vitamins. Zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol make it heart healthy. Lactose free.
Cons: Allergies. Low protein content. Higher in sodium than other alternatives.
Many brands are sweetened with added sugars.
Per cup: 100 cal; 6 g fat (0 sat); 9 g carbs (6 g sugars, 0 g fibre); 110 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 0 g cholesterol. High in Omega 3s.
Pros: Zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol. Source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Lactose free and unlikely allergen. Usually fortified with iron, calcium, Vitamins A and D.
Cons: If not fortified, some brands are low in calcium. (Hemp milk is made from cannabis seeds but does not contain the active ingredient THC found in marijuana.)