If you’ve walked into any grocery store lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed how the plant-based milk selection seems to be growing by the minute. Every time I go to Whole Foods I feel like there’s a new type of plant-based milk to check out. With so many choices out there, my head was spinning with questions. Which one is the healthiest? Do they all contain protein? How should I use them?
We are breaking down the different types of plant-based milk alternatives you may come across and highlighting the health claims of each one.
Why is plant-based milk becoming so popular?
Did you know that 60-70% of millennials are drinking plant-based milk products? WHOA! Just in the last year consumption of plant-based milk has grown 20% and experts say we are just getting started. What is the reason for this recent uptick in plant milk-loving consumers? There’s actually many. One part is largely due to the availability of these alternatives for people who can’t (or prefer not to) drink dairy. The truth is, plant-based milk (remember the OG, Silk Soy Milk?) has been around for a LONG TIME. This didn’t really catch on though because of the taste and texture. Quality has come a very long way and now the plant-based milk alternatives we have at our fingertips are giving us everything we need from a milk substitute: creamy flavor, amazing taste, and a favorable nutrition profile.
The other part of the story that’s driving plant-based milk consumption through the roof is our collective consciousness and growing concern for the environment. Plant-based milks are more sustainable than dairy milk and also require a fraction of the resources it takes to produce just one cup.
Breaking down the trendiest plant-based milks
Let’s start with Oat milk. By far one of the trendiest plant-based milks right now, but Oat milk has actually been around for almost 30 years! Oat milk is a great choice for anyone that is looking for dairy free alternatives and is allergic to nuts. It also offers a creamier texture than other plant-based milks because of how well oats absorb water in the process of making oat milk.
You may notice a higher carbohydrate content because oats are loaded with beta glucans which are a healthy type of fiber. Compared to other plant-based milks out there it has a moderate protein content (2 grams per cup), zero saturated fat, and is the clear winner when it comes to fiber. When picking out the perfect oat milk, look for ones that are organic, non-GMO and most importantly glyphosate free.
Almond milk is another milk alternative that we’ve seen on shelves for a while now. Again, this milk is great for people that are lactose intolerant and are gluten free. Depending on the brand, some may not be as creamy as oat milk but this all comes back to your preference. Compared to other plant-based milks, almond milk typically contains less protein but also less calories (typically around 60-70 calories per 1 cup).
When you’re picking out your almond milk, make sure to check the ingredients and avoid brands that use extra fillers or gums (ex. carrageenan). My favorite brand, and one of the cleanest I’ve found is Three Trees Almond Milk ( it’s made from two ingredients: almonds and water).
Don’t worry, this milk does not contain CBD even though it is made from hemp (two totally different things)! Hemp milk (and also flax milk) are great choices when it comes to nutritional content. It naturally contains calcium, protein and has the added benefits of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids in the ideal ratio.
Many other plant-based milks need to be fortified with vitamins and minerals to bulk up their nutrient profile but you can find most of these naturally occurring in hemp. Compared to others, it has a slightly higher amount of protein and lower calories. Again, try to avoid hemp milks that contain a lot of added fillers and also sugars.
Which plant-based milk has the most protein? Here's a breakdown:
Protein (per 1 cup)
Too many plant-based milks and not enough ways to use them? We can help you with that. Here are some of our favorite ways!
- On cereal
- In soups
- In baked goods
- As the base of homemade ice creams
- It can really be swapped for any thing that uses dairy milk!