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Cow’s milk is a nutritious beverage which contains 16 essential nutrients and has the following profile for 1 cup of 2% milk: 9g protein, 30% calcium and 45% vitamin D of your daily recommended value. Due to its rich nutrient profile, cow’s milk has been associated with strong bones and teeth, reduced risk of bone fractures, and lower blood pressure. Thus, cow’s milk makes for an excellent beverage choice and can fit into a healthy diet.
Although very nutritious, some choose to avoid cow’s milk due to their taste preferences, ethics, allergies, or lactose-intolerance and may choose a milk substitute instead.
Today there are countless milk substitutes: almond, soy, coconut, and oat to name a few; there are just so many options! But are they all made equal, and most importantly, are they all nutritionally equivalent? Let’s explore some common substitutes together!
Soy beverage – this alternative is the only substitute that has a similar protein content to cow’s milk. In addition, most soy milks are fortified to have an equivalent vitamin and mineral value to milk, notably increasing its Vitamin A, D and B12, riboflavin, calcium and zinc content, making it the ideal substitute to cow’s milk.
Almond beverage – due to its limited protein content, roughly 1g per cup, almond milk cannot be seen as a complete alternate for cow’s milk. However, if fortified, almond milk will contain comparable levels of calcium and vitamin D.
Oat beverage – although oat milk contains more protein than almond milk, roughly 4g per 1 cup, oat beverage still lacks the protein content of cow’s milk. Aim for a fortifed oat beverage as not all contain the added vitamin D and calcium to match cow’s milk nutritionally.
Bottom line – whatever substitute you choose, aim to select one that is fortifed and unsweetened.
Did you know? It is recommended to drink around 2.5-3.5 L of fluid per day. Any fluid that hydrates the body goes towards this total; consider drinking milk, water, soy beverage, or tea to meet this target! If you exercise, are sick, or depending on the temperature, your needs may vary. Why not enjoy milk and its alternatives in these hot summer months!
Tips on how to incorporate milk and its substitutes into your diet:
· Use milk in your oatmeal, baking, and smoothies instead of water
· Choose milk instead of cream in your tea, coffee or soups
· Enjoy milk-based desserts like rice pudding, and custard
Chai Tea Latte
2 cups milk (or alternative of choice)
2 black tea bags
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons sugar, maple syrup, honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
1. Heat up milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, until it begins to bubble around the edges of the pan. Turn off heat, and add 2 tea bags to the pot of hot milk. Wait 3 to 5 minutes for the tea to steep, then remove the bags.
2. Add cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and maple syrup. Whisk to combine, stirring over medium heat, until the mixture is piping hot.
3. Adjust any seasoning to your taste and serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. You can serve them chilled over ice, or reheat on the stove again.
Banana Bread Pudding
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or margarine, softened
1 loaf crusty French bread or bakery-style multi-grain bread (about 1 lb/500 g)
3/4 cup (180 mL) packed brown sugar
4 cups (1 L) milk or substitute
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) mashed ripe banana
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries or tart cherries (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Spread butter into 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) glass baking dish; set aside.
2. Cut bread into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes; set aside. In large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar; whisk in milk, banana and vanilla extract. Add bread and cranberries (if using) to bowl and toss gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 min or until bread is soaked through.
3. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for about 50 to 60 min or until puffed, golden and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal
Makes 4 servings
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 cups milk or substitute
1-1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup strawberry jelly
1. In a small bowl, beat peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add the milk until smooth. Add the oats and mix to combine. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
2. When ready to serve, whisk in the jelly slightly. Serve hot or cold.