I recently attended a meeting where I overheard someone saying low-fat milk was "loaded with sugar, because they need to replace the fat they take out with something." While this might be the case for some low-fat foods, such as salad dressings and ice creams, it is not the case for milk. We have both 2 percent and skim milk at our house, and the ingredient list is the same for both gallons: Grade A pasteurized milk, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
In the aisles I often get questions regarding the different kinds of milk alternatives. Here is a little insight:
Skim Milk Milk is the least expensive option, yet provides the highest NuVal score (91) and most nutrition. Milk provides nine nutrients, including calcium, protein and potassium. The ingredient list on a gallon of milk is also much shorter than some of the other milks since the only ingredients are milk and vitamins A & D.
Lactose-Free Milk Lactose-free milks, such as Lactaid are the best alternative for anyone suffering from lactose intolerance. It is actually milk; an ezyme has been added that breaks down lactose for you. This type of milk still provides all the protein and nutrients as regular milk. The NuVal score for lactose-free milk is also 91.
Soy Milk Soy milk, such as Silk, is a good alternative for individuals with a milk allergy. It is enriched with a number of the vitamins milk naturally provides, meaning those nutrients are added in. The calcium content is equal to cow's milk, but the protein is slightly lower (6g to 9g). Soymilk also contains some fats both the good and bad kinds. The NuVal score for the Silk Original is 82.
Almond Milk This milk has gained popularity because it is a low-calorie option. Unsweetened almond milk contains 40 calories per cup. However, the reason there aren't as many calories is that it has only one gram of protein. If you are swapping your regular milk for this, you may want to take a closer look at how much protein you are taking out of your daily diet especially in children. Unsweetened almond milks score 82, while the flavored scores 27-57.
Coconut Milk This is a newer alternative. Most of the coconut drinks available are a combination of almond and coconut milks. The ingredient label usually includes a coconut cream that contains coconut extract, water, guar gum and xanthan gum. Like almond milk, this is low in calories, but contains very little protein. The Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond/Coconut Drink scores 57 on the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System.
The bottom line is that many Americans, children included, do not get the recommended servings of milk or dairy. Now, people with allergies and intolerances have options to choose from.
Chocolate Bananarama Milk Mixer
Created by: Midwest Dairy Association Ingredients
All you need:
4 cups fat-free milk
1 (4 ounces) package chocolate instant pudding & pie filling
1 medium banana, cut into chunks
5 to 6 ice cubes
All you do:
1. Place ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into glasses. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories, .5g fat, 460mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 9g protein (8g from dairy), 30% Daily Value calcium.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.