Newbie – Which Milk is best…. Soy vs. Rice vs. Almond

I have been asked by friends why rice or soy? Which is better and which one gives you the same proteins and fats as whole milk? I have one friend who is currently switching her baby over to milk. She called me to ask, if not cows milk then which? I had not done much research until then. Here is what I have come up with in comparison with cows whole milk.

That is pulling the numbers straight off the boxes from my own fridge. It may vary a little by brand. After doing this little bit of research my choice was a little more obvious. If I am not making my own Almond milk at home (which I am not just yet), then Soy is the best choice for me and my family. It is very similar  to cows milk, without the harmful effects of animal protein, and the cancer aiding casein.

Now flavors….. that’s another story. When switching my kids over from cows milk, I bought one box of each to let them taste. The winner: Rice milk hands down. Its sweeter and really has the least amount of flavor affect on cheerios. I am currently switching the one year twins over to soy milk and they seem to not have a problem with it. My other two however call soy milk, SOIL milk. They are not big fans.

I will continue to watch for information on why which milk is better, but feel free to leave comments or advice if you have some 🙂

“Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said, ‘I think I’ll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze ’em!’? -Calvin, from Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes”

 While milk may be a good source of calcium and protein for vegetarians, many people are reducing their consumption of dairy due to food allergies, in an effort to reduce fat and cholesterol intake, or just to take advantage of the many health benefits of soy. Need a dairy substitute for baking, cooking or drinking? Soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk can all be easily substituted for dairy in most recipes.

Soy milk
The good news is, soy milk is healthy, cheap, and easy to find and use. The bad news is…well, there really is no bad news! From a nutritional perspective, soy milk has almost as much protein as dairy milk, less fat, no cholesterol, and, since most soy milks are fortified, is a comparable source of calcium. Vegan should make sure to find a brand that is fortified with Vitamin B12. Soy milk is an excellent dairy substitute for baking or for kids.

Each brand of soy milk is slightly different, so try a couple and see which one suits your taste buds best. Soy milk is increasingly popular, and many grocery chains, such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Safeway make their own brand in a variety of flavors. I recommend trying Silk brand unflavored soy milk to start, though the chocolate flavor is an incredibly tasty treat.

Rice Milk
Rice milk is not as thick as soy or dairy milks, and has a somewhat translucent consistency. Because it is slightly sweet, rice milk works well in dessert recipes and is not suited for savory or salty dishes, such as mashed potatoes. Compared to soy and almond milk, rice milk has less protein.

Almond Milk
Milk made from almonds or other nuts, such as cashew milk has a creamy consistency similar to soy milk and a nutty taste perfect for making fruit smoothies or other creamy drinks and desserts, though they don’t taste much like dairy milk, and are best in non-savory dishes. Be sure to shake your almond milk well before using. If you can’t find almond milk at your grocery store, try making a homemade almond or cashew milk.

Here’s how to use these milk substitutes:

Dairy substitutes for baking:
Substitute soymilk, rice milk or almond milk for milk. You won’t even be able to tell the difference in most recipes, including breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, puddings and other creamy desserts.

Dairy substitutes for cereal, oatmeal, and beverages:
Any milk substitute will work fine, so it’s really a matter of personal taste. I find that rice milk is a bit too sweet for me on cereal, but you may find that the sweetness of the rice milk just enhances the taste of a bowl of cereal. For extra flavor, try using vanilla flavored soymilk on your cereal- yum!”

Source: WFM Blog 16

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