There are so many plant based milks out there, how do you know which one to choose? One thing is for sure, as long as it’s NOT a dairy milk you are in the clear! Below are some guidelines to help you choose the best non-dairy milk for you and your family.
1. Make sure the milk is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (these will be listed as a percentage on the nutrition label). And always shake the milk prior to pouring as the fortified nutrients tend to settle at the bottom.
2. Make sure there is an adequate amount of protein in the milk, especially if your child's main source of nutrition is still coming from milk consumption. If your child eats mostly solid foods, then the amount of protein in the milk may not matter as much
3. It is advised to avoid rice milk due to arsenic
4. If your child has multiple allergies, then select a milk with low allergen properties, such as pea or oat (preferably pea since it is higher in protein)
Below is a list of commonly consumed milks in order of protein content. Sticking with the higher protein content ones for the kids is usually the best choice. My kids drink mostly soy with the very occasional almond. And even though almond is very low in protein, my kids drink very little milk and get pretty much all of their nutrition from solid food.
1 cup Silk Nutmilk (cashew, almond, pea blend) = 10 grams
1 cup Soy Milk = 8 g protein
1 cup Ripple Pea Milk = 8 g protein
1 cup Good Karma flaxmilk (contains added pea protein) = 8 g protein. *other flaxmilks without added pea protein will be much lower in protein content
1 cup Oatly = 3 g protein
1 cup Almond milk = <1 g protein
1 cup Cashew milk = <1 g protein
1 cup Coconut milk = <1 g protein
Just as a comparison, 1 cup of cow's milk contains 8 g of protein.
So I would suggest taking a look at your child's overall intake, and if they are a poor eater or get most of their nutrition from liquids, then choosing a higher protein, fortified nondairy milk is by far the best choice.
As for us adults, choosing a plant based milk is mostly a matter of preference and taste since we get the protein our bodies need from the foods we eat. Still choosing a milk that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 though is best.
What plant based milk does your family drink?