Walk down a grocery aisle today and you will find a lot of competition for cow’s milk. Whether customers have a specific food allergy or just prefer the taste of one over another, customers are exploring their options. Let’s take a closer look at some of the competition.

• Soy: You’ll get a protein boost, plus good percentages of calcium and vitamin D. Be sure to check labels because not all brands are generous in the amount of nutrients they add to their milks.

• Almond: Good source of fortified calcium and vitamin D. However, much of the protein is lost in the process of making almond milk.

• Cashew: Contains vitamin E, which helps your immune system. Cashew milk can be low in protein, so be sure to read the label!

• Coconut: Contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that may help raise your good (HDL) cholesterol, but may also increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol.

• Rice: Tasty alternative for vegans and vegetarians who are allergic to soy. Rice milk doesn’t contain as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk.

• Pea: Has 8 grams plant-based protein. (8 grams per 8-ounce serving). Most plant-based proteins do not contain all the amino acids that the body needs to build protein.

What about good old-fashioned cow’s milk? According to the National Institutes of Health, two types of proteins in cow’s milk - whey and casein - help preserve lean muscle mass. Cow’s milk is an excellent recovery drink for athletes following a strenuous workout. Milk has three simple ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D. One thing to keep in mind is that milk does contain lactose, a sugar that some people cannot digest or tolerate.

Recent research has indicated that dairy food consumption, including cow’s milk, regardless of fat content, may not be associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. A recent study examined the association of dairy fat consumption from all dairy foods with cardiovascular risk among adults enrolled in three large prospective studies.* Results showed no association between dairy fat consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Companies have also been keeping up with this research and have been producing products made with whole milk for customers. As you shop through the aisles, you may see more and more whole-milk products, including milk, yogurts and cheese. If you have questions regarding which products are right for you, never hesitate to reach out to your local dietitian.

 

Spicy Coconut Chocolate Milk

Serves 1

Total Time 5 minutes

1 cup vanilla-flavored coconut milk

2 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coconut sugar, optional

Cayenne powder, optional

Combine coconut milk and cocoa powder in a blender. If desired, add sugar and a dash of cayenne. Cover and blend until thoroughly mixed. Serve in tall glass.

Nutrition per serving: 90 calories, 5g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 12g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 1g protein.

 

-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com .