Banana milk is a thing, people.
Long gone are the days when the hardest decision in the dairy aisle was whole milk vs 2 percent. Now, you’ve got about a million and one non-dairy milks to choose from if you want something creamy and delicious to put in your latte, oatmeal, or bowl of cereal.
Why choose dairy-free milk though? Well, for some people, it’s a growing interest in plant-based diets and the vegan movement. For others, it’s lots of talk about milk sensitivities and lactose intolerance (and the gas and bloating that often accompany them). And, hey, some people just don’t like the taste of cow’s milk.
Whatever your reason for ditching the dairy-based stuff, you can easily swap out traditional milk for something that’s just as tasty, versatile, and nutritious these days.
But should you opt for coconut milk, classic almond milk, or something else? Is one vegan milk truly better than the rest?
The choice really comes down to knowing when or how you want to consume a non-dairy milk and what flavor and texture profile you enjoy the most.
Just know that, whatever you choose, your plant-based milk won’t provide dairy milk’s exact nutritional benefits. “Non-dairy milks are usually lacking in the protein and calcium department, compared to cow’s milk,” says dietitian Natalie Rizzo, RD. Plus, “many also contain thickeners and sugars, for taste.”
To find the most nutritious milk alternative on the store shelf, “look for as much protein as possible, since protein is an important nutrient for satiety and helps maintain a variety of metabolic functions, in addition to its structural role in the body,” says dietitian Kelly Jones, RD. She also recommends plant milks that are fortified with vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D (some of cow’s milk’s key nutrients)—especially for those who follow a vegan or heavily plant-based diet.
Not sure where to start? Here are the best non-dairy milks on the market, according to dietitians themselves.