Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN/LDN, FAND, LSS BB
Plant-based milks are one of the hottest trends right now with people flocking to them for a variety of reasons: their health benefits, to support the environment, animal welfare, or because they just like the way they taste. But with all the options out there, why chose chia milk? Where does it rank in terms of human health, planetary health, and taste? Let’s take a look!
CHIA MILK: NUTRITION
Most people look to milk to meet their needs for several key nutrients. Unsweetened chia milk boasts the fewest calories of all the plant-based options, while still packing a serious punch when it comes to nutrition. It has:
And don’t forget, chia milk is allergen friendly, free of the top 8 allergens as well as being gluten-free.
CHIA MILK: INGREDIENTS
Next, let’s look at the ingredient label. While many milk options on the shelf have long ingredient lists that take a food scientist to decipher, unsweetened chia milk is made up of these easily recognizable ingredients:
Distilled water, chia protein, chia oil, calcium, vitamins A, D and E. Less than 1%: sodium polyphosphate, potassium polyphosphate, gellan gum, sea salt, natural flavor.
Any milk alternative “recipe” starts with water plus whatever the ingredient star might be: almonds, soy, or in this case, chia! The milks are then enriched with a few vitamins and minerals that one would expect to see in traditional milk including calcium and vitamins A, D, and E. Then there is just a tiny amount of a few ingredients added to ensure that the stability, taste, texture, and flavor are on point. These are all recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for consumption, also known as GRAS.
CHIA MILK: SUSTAINABILITY
People worldwide continue to become more acutely aware of how their purchasing decisions impact the environment. While traditional cow’s milk and even some milk alternatives are known to utilize a lot of natural resources (almond milk, for example) and emit a lot of greenhouse gases, SOW’s chia seeds are responsibly sourced from the fields of Bolivia and Argentina. These farmers practice a number of regenerative agriculture techniques from maintaining natural barriers and routine crop rotation to employing no tilling and direct sowing methods. The goal? To maintain, rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem around the farm focusing on building healthy fertile soil, increasing biodiversity, creating healthier water systems and stronger farming communities.
And don’t forget the packaging; it’s not just what’s in the container that matters to the environment. SOW’s chia milk is packaged in the most ecological (recyclable and compostable) packaging solutions currently available. Click here to learn more about SOW’s sustainability practices.
CHIA MILK: TASTE
Chia milk might be good for us and good for the environment, but if it doesn’t taste good, what’s the point? Chia milk is most similar to other nut and seed milks in flavor, a natural, lightly toasted, and mild dried fruit flavor with a creamy texture. Its slightly beige hue comes from the chia seed’s natural coloring, no added colorings here! If you’re looking for a little sweetness, try the original sweetened (7g of added sugar) or chocolate sweetened (12g added sugar) options which are still lower than most of the other sweetened plant-based milks out there.
Good for you?
Good for the planet?
Yummy nutty taste?
But don’t take our word for it. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Try these 3 nutritious and refreshing summer plant-based smoothie recipes: Piña Colada Smoothie, Sunshine Smoothie and Vanilla Date Smoothie, to help you stay hydrated and cool in the heat this summer! Grab a glass and drink up!