Road Testing Dairy-Free Milks

I love this time of year. Specifically, the food this time of year.

From holiday sugar cookies to festive gingerbread, I am never short on delicious seasonal treats. My favorite treat this season is hot chocolate. It’s the perfect blank canvas to customize however you want. Add some peppermint, or a teaspoon of hazelnut syrup, or even a handful of chocolate chips! I love my hot chocolate with milk, for that extra creamy texture, with bonus added protein, vitamin D, and calcium. But, unfortunately, I have difficulty enjoying hot chocolate with milk, since I am lactose intolerant. 

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar, lactose, found in milk. I’m definitely not alone in being lactose intolerant, and symptoms include bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, and gas. It’s a common problem, and the only cure is to avoid foods with lactose. That means I need to get crafty with dairy-free milks to find the perfect replacement for hot chocolate.

I tried almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, and cashew milk, and the nutritional facts are based on a standard 8oz glass.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a big personal favorite, in terms of taste. It’s also only 30 calories, along with vitamins and minerals. It’s not strong on the protein front, so make sure you’re mixing in other protein options if almond milk ends up as your drink of choice!

Calories: 30
Fat: 2.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g
Calcium: 45%
Vitamin A: 10%
Iron: 2%

Soy Milk

Compared to almond, rice, and cashew milk, soy milk is the most nutritionally dense, with some major benefits for every age group. It’s loaded with protein, and has a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B and iron.

Calories: 131
Fat: 4.3 g
Saturated Fat: 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 8 g
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 8%
Vitamin B: 10%
Magnesium: 15%

Rice Milk

Rice milk is very allergy and intolerance-friendly, accommodating both nut allergies and lactose intolerance. It’s not as nutritionally dense as the other milks, but it can make for a great hot chocolate. If this one’s your fave, aim to ramp up protein from other sources throughout the day.

Calories: 120
Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.3g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 0.4g
Calcium: 2%
Iron: 1%

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is an up-and-coming nut milk that has been popping up in more places. It’s quite creamy, making it close in consistency to regular milk. It has a bit more to offer than rice milk in terms of nutrients, though not as much as almond and soy, with plenty of calcium. However, it’s completely sans protein, so make sure you’re boosting protein elsewhere!

Calories: 25
Fat: 2g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 0g
Vitamin A: 10%
Calcium: 45%
Iron: 2%

All in all, depending on what you like, these alternatives are great with my seasonal hot chocolate. So, if you’re lactose intolerant, like me, you don’t have live in a world without delicious hot chocolate.