Rice milk and soy milk are popular non-dairy milk right now. But for many families, it’s not about keeping up with the latest trend. Some people choose this milk because they can’t drink cow’s milk or are allergic to it. Other families follow a vegan diet, which means they don’t eat anything made from animals. I keep dairy and non-dairy milk in our house, and I’ve even made almond and cashew milk (it’s easy, and here’s how). Things Parents Should Know About Non-Dairy Milks.
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Non-dairy milk can be a healthy part of a child’s diet. But as a dietitian, I’ve discovered some false information that worries me. However, You need to know what’s going on to ensure your child is getting the food he needs. Here are some things you need to know about milk that doesn’t come from cows:
You should never use them to feed babies
Formulas for babies are made to meet the specific needs of babies. They have to meet federal nutrient standards and are regulated by the FDA. A formula should not be replaced with non-dairy milk. After age 1, your child can drink cow and non-dairy milk.
They don’t have the same nutrients as cow’s milk
Regarding nutrition, non-dairy milk is not the same as regular milk. The USDA’s MyPlate guidelines say that calcium-fortified soy milk is the only non-dairy milk that is the same as dairy because it has the same amount of protein. Unlike milk that doesn’t come from cows, cow’s milk naturally has a lot of protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12.
How Different Non-Dairy kinds of milk Compare 3. There isn’t much calcium or vitamin D in homemade versions.
Even though it’s easy to make your nut milk and it tastes much better than store-bought, keep in mind that most non-dairy milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. So those nutrients won’t be in the homemade kind.
Most of them don’t have much protein
I’ve read that almond milk is a good way to get protein. But it only has about 1 gram of protein per serving, much less than cow’s milk (8 grams) or soy milk (7 grams). (Almonds are a good source of protein, but when the milk is made, the nut solids are strained out.) Also low or very low in protein are hemp, cashew, rice, and coconut milk. So, unless you give your child soy or pea milk, don’t count on non-dairy milk as a good source of protein. Instead, make sure your child gets protein from other foods.
They need to be shaken before being served
When calcium is added to milk, the solid calcium can sink to the bottom of the carton. So, shake the carton well before you pour it to get the bone-building calcium into your glass.
Some kinds have a lot of sugar in them
Be careful with flavored non-dairy milk, which can have more than one teaspoon of sugar per glass. For example, a serving of vanilla almond milk from a well-known brand has four teaspoons of added sugar, about half a day’s worth for a child ages 4 to 8. I don’t mind if my kids drink flavored milk, but even the “original” kinds may have added sugar. Look for the word “unsweetened” on the front of the package or in the list of ingredients to see if there is added sugar.
They all have unique flavors
If you want to find non-dairy milk that your kids like, you have many options, and they all taste different. Almond and cashew milk have a bit of a nutty taste, but rice milk is just a bit sweet. Try out different things to see what your family likes best. And if they don’t like non-dairy milk alone, they might like it in a smoothie!
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