A Personalized Guide to Choosing the Right Vegan Milk for You

A Personalized Guide to Choosing the Right Vegan Milk for You

Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN/LDN, FAND

Registered Dietitian

 

It can be a struggle for vegans to find the right milk alternative to meet their needs. Making sure it’s animal-free might be considered the ‘easy part’.  And with dairy shelves now lined with an overabundance and ever-growing array of plant-based milk alternatives, it can truly be overwhelming.  What are we supposed to look for, protein? Certain vitamins? Specific nutrients? And after all of that, it still needs to taste great!

Why Plant-Based Milk?

There are a number of reasons someone might opt for a plant-based milk alternative.  Perhaps they’re vegan (meaning they don’t eat ANY animal products including dairy milk) and are supporting the environment, animal rights, personal health, or any combination therein.  Or maybe they’re not strictly vegan but still choose plant-based milks for the same reasons.  Some folks choose a plant-based option because of a milk allergy/intolerance and finally there are those who just prefer the flavor.  

 

When it comes to traditional dairy milk, there’s no denying it’s an excellent source of some very important nutrients including water for hydration, calories, protein, natural sugars, healthy fats (essential for brain and eye development in young children), fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E, and the minerals calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. So, ensuring we still get those vital nutrients is important.  How then do we pick a milk alternative?

 

Here’s Your Guide

There are a few key questions to think through when trying to find the right plant-based milk for you:

 

Does it need to have the same nutrient profile as dairy milk?

  • Contrary to popular belief, the answer is no! For example, protein is an important macronutrient but if you get enough through other foods, it does not have to come from ‘milk’.  The same goes for the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals listed above.  It can be hard, for vegans especially, to get enough of these specific vitamins and minerals through plant-based foods alone unless they are fortified. 

Chia Milk has vitamins A, D, and E as well as calcium added to it.

Does it bring something nutritionally unique to the table?

  • Some plant-based milks have specific naturally occurring nutrients that traditional milks do not.

For example, 1 cup of Chia Milk has iron (almost 40% of your daily needs), fiber (almost 10% of your daily needs), and healthy plant-based omega-3 fats (almost 70% of you daily needs).  These nutrients aren’t even in many plant-based options.

Does it have added sugar?

  • Research tells us to keep added sugar to a minimum, so keep that in mind when perusing the shelves or look no further than this Unsweetened Chia Milk!

How many calories does it have?

  • Some plant-based milks are lower in calories, which can be helpful for those watching their weight.

In fact, Unsweetened Chia Milk only has 21 calories per cup. 

Are you navigating a food allergy?

  • Some plant-based milks still contain allergens including soy, almond, and other nut-based milks. Chia Milk on the other hand is allergen friendly, free from the top 8 allergens.

 

And remember, all plant-based milks are not created nutritionally equal.  Here’s just one example:

 

 

Chia Milk *

Almond Milk *

Fiber

2 g

0.6g

Protein

2 g

1g

Omega-3

740 mg

0g

Calories

21

33

Allergens

Free from the top 8 allergens

contains nuts

*Comparison of Unsweetened Chia Milk versus leading Almond Milk Brands

 

Switching to chia milk is one easy way to incorporate more plant-based foods into your eating pattern, and the research time and time again tells us that more plants equal better health, for People and for Planet. Here are 2 amazing recipes so you can continue (or begin) to enjoy all benefits and uses of our chia milk: a delicious smoothie to start every morning full of energy and a nutritious vegan soup that's ideal for the coldest days.


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