Five healthiest dairy milk alternatives

Cow’s milk may not be suitable for everyone, but there are plenty of non-dairy alternatives available.

Jeevana Kalaithasan

Obsessed with chocolate, TikTok and baking.

Published: 6 May 2021, 12:12 PM

Non-dairy milk has become a popular option for many over the past few years. 

With its rise in popularity, cafes and coffee shops are now offering these alternatives to those who prefer them. Some choose these alternative options for health reasons while others simply prefer the taste. 

Aside from being high in lactose which is a problem for those who are lactose intolerant, cow’s milk contains hormones that cause acne and other skin and health problems. Additionally, many dairy cows are also abused and poorly treated. 

If you are looking to avoid such issues or to avoid being a part of the mistreatment of dairy cows, here are five healthiest dairy milk alternatives you should try. 

1. Hemp milk

Made from ground, soaked hemp seeds, hemp milk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. Its earthy, nutty flavour and creamy consistency makes it perfect to be used in place of cow’s milk in smoothies, coffee and cereal.  

Hemp milk is high in protein, omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats. Compared to cow’s milk, hemp milk has fewer calories, less protein and carbs but about the same amount of fat. 

It’s one of the few plant-based complete proteins, as it contains all of the essential amino acids that humans need from food. 


Drinking hemp milk benefits skin health and protects against heart disease. PHOTO CREDIT: CANVAST SUPPLY CO VIA UNSPLASH


Hemp milk is a good option for those who wish to avoid soy, lactose or gluten. It can also easily be made at home. 

2. Oat milk

Oat milk is a popular dairy-free milk substitute. It’s made by soaking whole oats in water then blending and straining. 

Oat milk is creamy, sweet and packed with nutrients. With its growing popularity, oat milk can be found in many grocery and online stores or you can make it at home

Store-bought milk is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals which you might not get if the milk is homemade. 

Oat milk is free of many of the allergens found in other types of milk and contains soluble fiber which helps slow digestion and keeps you full for longer. It can also help stabilise your blood sugar levels.


Oat milk is a great option for those with dietary restrictions. PHOTO CREDIT: KAFFEE MEISTER VIA UNSPLASH


Oat milk is a great source of B vitamins, can lower blood cholesterol and is great for bone health. 

However, there are also some downsides to oat milk. Commercial oat milk is high in sugar, while homemade oat milk is not as nutritious as commercial alternatives.

It is also generally more expensive than cow’s milk. 

3. Almond milk

In recent years, almond milk has grown in popularity. 

Made by blending soaked almonds, it looks exactly like regular cow’s milk and has a nutty flavour. In commercial varieties, extra nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E and vitamin D are added to it to boost its nutritional content.

Almond milk can also be made at home. 


Since almond milk is fully plant-based, it is suitable for vegans or those who choose to avoid dairy. PHOTO CREDIT: SANDI BENEDICTA VIA UNSPLASH


Almond milk is low in calories and sugar. This is great for those who are looking to cut calories and lose weight. 

Overall, almond milk is a tasty, nutritious milk alternative. It is low in calories and sugar and high in calcium, vitamin E and vitamin D. 

4. Coconut milk

Just like coconut water, coconut milk has recently become very popular. It is a tasty alternative to cow’s milk and provides health benefits. 

Made from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, coconut milk has a thick consistency and a rich and creamy texture. 

It is commonly used in Asian cuisine and can be added to dishes or even in drinks like smoothies. Thick coconut milk is usually used in desserts and thick sauces while thin milk is used in soups and thin sauces.

Coconut milk can be bought in stores or be made at home.  


Although coconut milk is highly versatile, it is a high-calorie food. PHOTO CREDIT: TIJANA DRNDARSKI VIA UNSPLASH


Some experts believe that coconut milk contains unique proteins that provide health benefits. Additionally, there’s some evidence that the fats in coconut milk may benefit weight loss, body composition and metabolism. 

It is also said that coconut milk may also reduce inflammation, fight viruses and bacteria and decrease stomach ulcer size. 

Overall, coconut milk is tasty, nutritious and versatile. 

5. Soy milk

Soy milk is a plant-based non-dairy beverage consumed as an alternative to milk. It is made from soybeans and is an excellent source of complete protein. Additionally, commercial soy milk is often fortified with nutrients like vitamin D and calcium. 

Nutritionally, it’s the closest to cow’s milk. 


Soy milk is great for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant. PHOTO CREDIT: MAE MU VIA UNSPLASH


Some studies show that it reduces the risk of cancer, osteoporosis and can help reduce menopausal symptoms. 

Similar to other milk alternatives, soy milk can be both bought in stores or made at home.

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