How Nutritious Are Non-Dairy Milks?

Maxine Wolf

More than 60 percent of natural food shoppers use an alternative, nondairy milk, according to a recent study from the Nutrition Business Journal. And with good reason: They’re free of hard-to-digest lactose and offer a host of other health benefits. Here, Lisa Musician, RD, LDN, of Food Allergy Dietitian, Inc., helps us analyze the options.

Almond milk, unsweetened

Nutrition perks: Has about 60 calories per cup, compared to 100 for 1% cows milk
KIWI picks: 365 Everyday Values Unsweetened Organic Almondmilk ($2 for 32 ounces, Whole Foods stores)

Coconut milk

Nutrition perks: Is equal in calories to 2% milk but has more healthy fats—a plus for growing kids who need a boost
KIWI picks: So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage ($4 for 32 ounces, vitacost.com)

Hemp milk

Nutrition perks: Offers a well-balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids
KIWI picks: Pacific Foods’ Hemp Original ($3 for 32 ounces, target.com)

Oat milk, fortified

Nutrition perks: Contains more calcium than cows milk
KIWI picks: Pacific Foods Organic Oat Original ($8 for two 32-ounce bottles, target.com)

Rice milk

Nutrition perks: Is considered the least allergenic of all the milk alternatives because it is free of milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts, and peanuts
KIWI picks: Rice Dreams Enriched Unsweetened Original ($10 for three 32-ounce bottles, amazon.com)

Soy milk

Nutrition perks: Has about the same calorie and protein content as cows milk but is much lower in cholesterol
KIWI picks: 365 Everyday Valley Unsweetened Organic Soymilk, Original ($2 for 32 ounces, Whole Foods stores)

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