A Vegan’s Guide to Plant Milk
Going dairy-free is one of the most natural changes to your diet. Why? Simply because drinking milk past infancy is not what nature intended. Going dairy-free is a smart move not just for ethical reasons but also because it will very likely improve your health in several ways. Here’s our guide to plant milk!
Did you know — about two thirds of the world’s adults are lactose intolerant? The message is loud and clear: we are meant to consume breast milk only in infancy and then stop!
Soya is naturally high in protein, contains essential fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, can help lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Soya milk is an amazingly versatile drink and one of the best for tea, coffee and cereal. It has the highest in protein content out of all plant milks (about 3g per 100g – the same protein content as cow’s milk). It’s creamy in texture and very good for tea and coffee.
Top Tip: It’s best to wait for the tea/coffee to cool down a bit before adding the milk to prevent slight curdling.
Soya milk comes in a variety of brands, flavours, sweetened, unsweetened and is widely available in supermarkets, independent health food shops, online, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and even small, local shops. It’s great to drink from the glass, to use in hot drinks, smoothies, and cooking (it can be used in place of cow’s milk in any recipe and is stable at high temperatures).
Best bit of posh
Bonsoy is our top posh soya milk. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s amazing quality, doesn’t curdle, froths really well and tastes delicious! It’s a favourite amongst baristas.
Best budget soya milk
Aldi offers two budget soya milks in sweetened and unsweetened and only costs 59p! They are creamy and taste pretty good too.
Widest range of soya milks
Alpro have one of the widest ranges of soya milks as they come in all kinds of flavours, organic, sweetened, unsweetened, wholebean, large and small (kid sizes). They are available in all the major supermarkets, online and in independent health food shops.
Best bit of healthy
Provamel unsweetened is our favourite healthy soya milk as it’s reasonably priced, no added sugar, organic and very few ingredients (only organic soya beans and water).
Best for kids
It’s Alpro again! They make a Growing Up milk for children from one year of age, fortified to suit their needs. And they also do a wide range of flavoured soya milks which are really popular with kids and come in mini cartons too!
Supermarket own brands
All of the supermarkets offer their own brand of soya milk including sweetened and unsweetened. Most of them are pretty good quality, even the budget options. The cheapest available are Aldi, Lidl and Tesco Value. All of the rest are around £1 each.
Here are some of the supermarket own brands…
Marks & Spencer
There is nothing nicer than homemade almond milk but if you haven’t got the time or inclination to make your own then luckily there are lots of great ones out there for you to buy.
Almond milk is one of the most popular plant milks and for good reason – it’s delicious, high in calcium, low in fat, low in calories and very versatile. It’s amazing in tea, coffee, smoothies, with cereal, straight from the glass and in some recipes. It has a mild nutty taste and also comes in a variety of flavours. It is widely available in supermarkets, independent health food shops, online, in some restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.
Almonds drink a bit more water than other crops when growing but they’re certainly not the culprit behind California’s water crisis, as some tabloids claim – unlike livestock farms!
Here are some of our favourites!
Ecomil offers a range of high quality, organic, deliciously creamy almond milks with a high almond content… mmmm.
Sainsbury’s offer two fortified, almond milk drinks in sweetened and unsweetened. At just £1 per carton it’s a real bargain!
Almond Breeze offers a wide range of almond milks in a variety of flavours and blends. They are available in most major supermarkets, independent health food shops and online. They average at about £1.60 per litre.
M&S have an almond milk in their chilled free-from section – nice and creamy too.
Aldi — Actileaf
Aldi have a good, budget-friendly offering at 99p per carton… nice!
Innocent now do fresh almond milk which is available in most supermarkets. Nice flavour and creamy but on the pricier end of the scale at £1.99.
Morrison’s offer a good almond milk in their own range.
Asda have a great range of plant milks now including this almond milk.
Not to be confused with the coconut milk that comes in a tin, which is made from the coconut meat, used mostly for cooking and much thicker.
Coconut milk has a higher fat content than the other plant milks and is rich and creamy. It is best suited to drinking from the glass, cereal and smoothies. Some people really like it in tea and coffee but others find that it’s too watery and the taste is too strong. It is good for baking and cooking but remember it will give a coconutty taste so it’s not always suitable for some savoury dishes. It’s really widely available, comes in a variety of brands and can be found in major supermarkets, independent health food shops, online, some restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.
Here are some of our favourites!
Best bit of posh
Plenish makes a delicious, sugar-free, organic coconut milk which is super creamy. It is on the pricier side which is why it’s won our ‘best bit of posh’ award! Available in independent health food shops and online.
Best budget coconut milk
Koko coconut milk is widely available in health food shops, supermarkets, online and in some cafes and coffee shops. It’s creamy, tasty and can be bought for as little as £1.10 per litre.
M&S have a good quality coconut milk – find it in their free-from chilled section.
Asda has a good selection of plant milks including this coconut milk.
You can find this coconut milk in Morrisons chilled free-from section… a nice offering.
Rice milk is made by blending boiled rice with water and is much thinner than most of the other plant milks.
Rice milk is popular as it’s low in fat and sweet in taste. It has been said that it’s closest in taste to cow’s milk but this is just opinion. It’s a good option for using in desserts, cereal and smoothies. Most people don’t like it in tea or coffee because it’s too watery. It can be used in cooking and baking but because of its thin consistency it would usually need an added thickening agent such as flour, cornflour or xanthan gum. It’s now widely available in supermarkets, independent health food shops and online.
Sojade rice milks are organic, high quality and really tasty. They offer a wide range including plain, fortified, rice with almond, rice with coconut and rice with coconut and pineapple.
Best budget rice milk
It’s possible to buy Rice Dream milks for as little as £1 per litre. They’re widely available, come in a variety of flavours and blends and are super tasty. Can be found in major supermarkets, independent health food shops and online.
M&S offer good quality rice milk in their chilled free-from section. A good mid range option at £1.55 per carton.
Oat milk has a sweet mild taste and it’s nice and creamy which works well on cereal, drinking from the glass, smoothies and gets a definite thumbs up for tea and coffee. It’s very low in fat and the second highest in protein to soya. It’s widely available and can even be found in some restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.
Oat milk is made with soaked oat groats, which are hulled oat grains broken into fragments.
The best one
Oatly Oat Milks are super creamy and reasonably priced. They are widely available and come in a range of flavours mmmm…
Best from supermarkets’ own
In their new range of chilled free-from products, M&S now offer a tasty oat milk. It’s also enriched with iodine, which is an essential mineral – a win-win!
Hazelnut milk is deliciously nutty, foams really well and works in a variety of different ways. Hazelnut milk contains several B vitamins and vitamin E. The taste is stronger than with almond milk and is particularly nice in hot chocolate and for sweet desserts etc. It’s good in cereal, smoothies and some people love it in tea and coffee (it just depends if you want a nutty rather than a neutral taste).
There are a few brands of hazelnut milks now but not all shops stock it – if you fancy trying it look for Ecomil, Alpro, Provamel, Plenish or Rude Health.
Ecomil make a delicious, high quality, organic hazelnut milk (in sweetened, unsweetened and powdered) which is available in lots of health food shops and online.
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, a relative of cannabis but without the psychoactive chemicals!
Hemp milk contains the essential omega-3 fats (one glass contains 30 per cent of your recommended daily allowance of omega-3s). It’s thick and creamy but fairly neutral in taste so can be enjoyed in tea, coffee (it is worth trying it out as some people love it in coffee but not tea, the other way round, both or none!), smoothies and cereal. It can be used instead of soya milk in baking, most suited to savoury dishes.
Cashew milk is similar to almond milk in that it’s creamy, nutty and great for smoothies, cereal and drinking from the glass. It has mixed reviews for use in tea and coffee (some people don’t think it tastes like much) so it’s best to try it for yourself and see if you like it. It can be used in cooking and baking in both sweet and savory recipes. It’s low in calories and low in fat but contains a lot less protein than soya milk.
Best bit of posh
Plenish offers an unsweetened, organic cashew milk which is rich and creamy with a high nut content. At around £2.50 a litre it is one of the more expensive options but delicious.
Best mid-range cashew milk
There aren’t yet any super cheap cashew milks out there yet but Alpro is one of the cheapest at £1.80 per carton. It comes in either regular or chilled and is very tasty.