Are you guilty of uttering the phrase “do you have any almond milk?” for the past six months? Raise your hand. Yup, we figured since you took the time to read this article. It’s safe to put it back down now, as it’s pointless to walk around your apartment (or worse, at work!) while raising your hand.

Since a lot of things have become experimental in the world of health and wellness, we’re quite sure that you’ve found yourself in situations wherein you lingered over the coconut and rice milks at the shelves of your friendly neighborhood grocery store. We bet you’ve wondered if these will clump up in your coffee, or if it will make your Kashi taste like cardboard, or if you will benefit from it.

Fortunately, we’ve teamed up with the nutritionist behind Nutrition Stripped, McKel Hill, for a definitive alternative milk guide that’s quite handy, and easy to understand. With this guide, you won’t have to worry about choosing between different types of milk because you will know exactly what to reach for.

Soy Milk

HOW IT TASTES: smooth, creamy, slightly sweet. HEALTH

BENEFITS: The nutrition profile of soy milk is very similar with dairy milks. It is higher in protein, carbohydrates, and lower in fat compared to most non-dairy milks in the market. It is not advisable to drink soy milk multiple times a day on a daily basis as the soy proteins in soy milk are highly concentrated. Soy proteins are more than those proteins found in whole foods like organic edamame, organic tempeh, or organic soy nuts. It is important to be mindful of your soy intake, but there is absolutely no need to eliminate so because it has beneficial phytonutrients.”

BEST WITH: It goes with recipes that would typically use dairy milks because they have similar texture.

HOW DOES IT TASTE WITH COFFEE? Soy milk tastes great in coffee, it dissolves well and it doesn’t leave clumps or grittiness. The after taste depends on the brand of soy milk.

Almond Milk

HOW IT TASTES: slightly sweet, nutty.

HEALTH BENEFITS: Almonds are a natural source of vitamin E, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, copper, zinc, and healthy fats.

BEST WITH: “I use almond milk with everything from oatmeal porridge, in smoothies, hot cocoa, my famous Turmeric Milk, and other dishes where dairy milk is typically used. It’s my go-to non-dairy milk and most versatile”, Hill says.

HOW DOES IT TASTE IN COFFEE? It’s great if you blend almond milk with a little bit of coconut milk. It’s best to add room temperature almond milk to warm or hot coffee because it tends to separate when heated.

Cashew Milk

HOW IT TASTES: sweet and creamy, it has the least nutty flavor of all nut and seed milks.

HEALTH BENEFITS: Cashew milk is a good source of healthy fats, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

BEST WITH: If you need to thicken smoothies, add richness to non-dairy ice creams or savory dishes, you just have to add cashew milk. According to Hill, “my favorite way to enjoy cashew milk is poured in a tall glass with a side of gluten free chocolate chip cookies.”

HOW DOES IT TASTE WITH COFFEE? “Cashew milk is one of the three non-dairy milks I use in tea or coffee (the others being coconut milk or almond milk) due to the flavor, richness, and how it mixes with coffee. Homemade cashew milk is the best to use in coffee and mixes well! Try it with my Nourishing Muesli”, says Hill.

Hemp Milk

HOW IT TASTES: slightly sweet, nutty and with a watery texture.

BENEFITS: The nutrition profile of hemp seed milk has the highest omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory and heart healthy fats). The hemp seed contains the most amount of protein (11 grams of protein per three tablespoons) out of all the non-dairy nuts and seeds.

BEST WITH: It’s best if you drink hemp milk on its own. You can enjoy it with cold cereal or add it into smoothies or anything that requires lighter milks (compared to skim dairy milks).”

HOW DOES IT TASTE WITH COFFEE? Of all the non-dairy milks, hemp milk is the thinnest, with rice milk coming in second. While hemp milk can be used in coffee, it is best to add coconut milk if you want your coffee rich and creamy and leave hemp milk for drinking or adding to hot tea. It is highly recommended that you try it with Super Seed Muesli with Hemp Milk.”

Rice Milk

HOW IT TASTES: slightly sweet, neutral.

HEALTH BENEFITS: Rice milk brings good news to those who have nut, soy, or seed allergies of any kind. It is easy on digestion and its nutrition profile is slightly higher in carbohydrates than most other non-dairy milks because of its source, which is a carbohydrate. Compared to other non-dairy milks, rice milk doesn’t contain as much protein or fat.

BEST WITH: Rice milk is best if you mix it in smoothies, porridges, and cold cereals. The kids can drink rice on its own.”

HOW DOES IT TASTE WITH COFFEE? “Rice milk, like hemp seed milk, is more watery than most other non-dairy milks”, Hill says.

Coconut Milk

HOW IT TASTES: sweet with a subtle coconut flavor, thick, rich, and creamy.

HEALTH BENEFITS: Coconut milk is high in healthy saturated fats that are mainly in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) – the type of fat that is easily absorbed by the body and utilized as energy similar to a carbohydrate rather than other fats. Coconut and MCT oils because famous over the past years when Bullet coffee transformed coffee into a frothy treat by emulsifying oils with the coffee.

BEST WITH: Coconut milk is best with savory dishes like curry, soups, and stews. It is perfect for thickening smoothies, smoothie bowls, porridges or other hot cereals. “Try it with my Blue Morning Smoothie Bowl”, Hill adds.

HOW DOES IT TASTE WITH COFFEE? Coconut milk is literally the cream of the crop. It is the thickest and creamiest non-dairy milk and is best for coffee. A small amount of coconut milk goes a long way, but the texture is most reminiscent of heavy cream or dairy milk.

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