With all of the promotions and talk of dairy products during the month of June for Dairy Month, you may be feeling left out if you do not tolerate dairy or if you follow a vegan diet. It’s true that milk is a nutrition powerhouse, with high amounts of protein, calcium, and potassium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. But there are a variety of nutritious non-dairy options available. I was actually shocked at the variety as I checked out all of the products we now carry! Below is a guide to non-dairy alternatives (compared to fat free or low-fat (1%) milk).
Soy milk is the most common dairy alternative and the most similar nutritionally to milk. There are many brands available and it comes in unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate, and regular. Soy milk has a creamy texture similar to dairy milk, and the flavor is somewhat neutral.
- Similar protein content to milk (6-7 grams for soy milk vs. 8 grams per cup for milk)
- Similar in calories to milk (can be slightly higher if not unsweetened)
- Enriched soy milk is usually higher in calcium and iron than regular milk and similar in vitamin D
- Contains some fiber (dairy does not contain any fiber)
- Often contains added sugar (look for unsweetened soy milk)
- Un-enriched soy milk is lacking in important vitamins and minerals, like calcium and vitamins A and D