The non-dairy milk industry isn’t just booming, but soaring way above the milk industry, which is great news for those allergic to dairy. Maybe you’re not even allergic to dairy, but perhaps have an intolerance or just prefer not to consume it. With lactose intolerance being a common problem today, the food industry is thankfully producing many non-dairy options to cater to those without dairy in their diets. Yet, not all products are equal when it comes to plant-based dairy alternatives. Some have high amounts of preservatives, added sugar, gluten, and some still contain traces of milk, believe it or not. When choosing non-dairy alternatives, opt for some of these sources below. They aren’t just great substitutes, but are overall so much healthier for you than dairy anyway.
1. Unsweetened Almond Milk
Unsweetened almond milk is by far one of the best products to try if you’re allergic to dairy. Free from sugar, unsweetened varieties of this particular milk have 50% more calcium than dairy milk, Vitamins D and E, plus Vitamin B12 and potassium. Many brands like Silk and Almond Breeze also produce unsweetened vanilla options for those that want a little flavor. Almond milk can be used anywhere dairy milk would be and it has a delightful, creamy texture with only 30-40 calories per serving.
2. Unsweetened Flax Milk
Flax milk is made from- well- you guessed it, flax seeds. Flax seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, and magnesium. Flax milk has a very mild, slightly sweet taste and even fewer calories than almond milk if you choose an unsweetened variety. It’s a great option for those looking for something different and overall has the same consistency as almond milk.
3. Organic Soy Milk
Soy is a controversial food, but it’s been thought to be helpful for women who’ve gone through menopause due to the natural phytoestrogens it contains. Soy milk is also higher in calcium, protein, and potassium than almond milk and usually has less sodium. Be sure to choose unsweetened varieties and go organic since soy is often genetically modified.
4. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a non-active yeast that tastes exactly like cheese. It comes in flake form but can easily be blended with raw cashews and a touch of water or non-dairy milk to make non-dairy cheese. Nutritional yeast contains a full array of B vitamins, especially Vitamin B12, which is important for a healthy metabolism.
5. Plant Protein Powders
Whey protein is often the go-to product for those looking to add a protein powder to their diet, but since it’s dairy-derived, you’ll need to choose a vegan source instead. Plant protein powders are a great option and often have added benefits like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, depending on the brand you buy. The most popular options out there include Vega One or Vega Sport, Garden of Life Protein or Raw Fit Protein, Garden of Life Raw Meal, and Sunwarrior Warrior Blend, just to name a few.
6. Earth Balance
Earth Balance is a vegan alternative to butter. It’s full of omega 3 fats, has no cholesterol, has the exact taste of butter, and comes in many different varieties. There are also other brands of non-dairy butters on the market, but be careful since many can contain high amounts of saturated fats or possibly trans fats.
7. Coconut Products
Coconut milk, coconut ice cream, coconut yogurt, coconut butter, and coconut oil are all great non-dairy options. I’d still suggest going with unsweetened and plain varieties for the healthiest option.
Other non-dairy options include non-dairy cheese, hemp milk, and cashew milk, among many others. If you have a dairy-allergy or intolerance, what are your favorite non-dairy products?