Are you searching for the perfect milk alternative? Or are you simply curious about the differences between almond milk and regular milk? I’ve got you covered!
In this article, I’ll explore how almond milk and regular milk are made, their different uses, their nutrition facts, and finally, figure out which one is better overall. Let’s dive in!
Comparing almond milk vs milk
|Almond milk||Cow milk (including whole, 2%, skim, etc.)|
|Type||Plant-based (nut milk)||Animal-based|
Differences between almond milk and milk
Almond milk is the most popular plant-based milk alternative. Almonds are soaked, blended, and strained to create this creamy, dairy-free beverage. You can even make your own almond milk at home with 3 simple ingredients!
Almond milk comes in unsweetened, sweetened, and even flavored varieties. It contains no lactose and is typically lower in calories compared to milk.
On the other hand, regular milk, also known as cow’s milk, is from dairy cows. After milking, it’s typically pasteurized and homogenized for safety and consistency.
Types of cow’s milk
Before we delve deeper, let’s have a quick glimpse at the various types of cow’s milk:
Whole milk: Contains 3.5% milk fat, the highest fat content among common types.
2% milk (reduced-fat): Contains about 2% milk fat, lighter than whole milk.
1% milk (low-fat): Contains around 1% milk fat, lower in calories.
Skim milk (non-fat): Contains 0% milk fat, very low in calories.
Lactose-free milk: Regular milk with lactase enzyme added to break down lactose for those who are lactose-intolerant.
Raw cow milk (whole): Unpasteurized milk straight from the cow, retains natural nutrients but may carry health risks.
Flavored milk: Various milk types with added flavors like chocolate or strawberry, higher in sugar content.
How to use almond milk vs milk
I could go on about the different ways to use these milks, but here are some of the most popular and my favorite ways to use them:
- In smoothies
- With cereals
- In coffee or tea
- In baking recipes
- To make dairy-free ice cream
- In pancake and waffle batter
- For creamy soups and sauces
- To make chia seed pudding
- In protein shakes or protein powder mixes
- In coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
- With oatmeal or porridge
- In pudding and custard recipes
- For making scrambled eggs or omelets
- To make mashed potatoes or creamy pasta dishes
- In homemade milkshakes
- In macaroni and cheese recipes
- To make yogurt at home
- For cream-based soups and sauces
Nutrition: Almond milk vs milk
Unsweetened almond milk is MUCH lower in calories compared to cow’s milk, with about a third of the amount of calories compared to skim milk, which is the lowest calorie type of cow’s milk. Of course, sweetened almond milk contains more calories and sugar, which will vary by brand.
Regular milk is higher in protein than almond milk, but it’s also higher in carbohydrates, and sugar, with varying amounts of fat depending on the type.
While cow’s milk naturally contains calcium, almond milk typically requires fortification with additional calcium to reach similar levels found in regular milk. Both types of milk are often fortified with vitamins A and D.
|Per 1 cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|Almond milk||30||2.5 g (0 g)||1 g||0 g||1 g||45% DV||25% DV|
|Whole milk||160||8 g (4.5 g)||11 g||10 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|2% milk||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|1% milk||110||2.5 g (1.4 g)||13 g||12 g (0g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Skim milk (nonfat milk)||90||0 g||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
How to store almond milk and milk
For almond milk, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator, keeping it well-sealed to prevent contamination. Once opened, it usually lasts around 7-10 days.
As for regular milk, it should also be refrigerated and kept well-sealed. Its shelf life depends on the type: whole milk lasts about 5-7 days, while reduced-fat and skim milk and lactose-free milk can last 7-10 days after opening.
Always check the expiration date on the carton for the most accurate information.
Almond milk vs milk: The ultimate verdict
Now comes the moment of truth! Which one should you choose: almond milk vs. milk? The answer lies in your lifestyle, taste preferences, and dietary needs…
If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, almond milk is the obvious choice. Almond milk is one of my favorite plant-based milks for its smooth texture, nutty flavor, and versatility.
The only time I use regular milk is for cream-based sauces and mac and cheese. I’ve tried almond milk for these purposes and it’s just not the same. Coconut milk is probably the best creamy sub I’ve found for soups and sauces, but if dairy doesn’t bother you and you love the classic taste of milk or its higher protein content, go ahead and use it!
Almond milk can be considered a healthier alternative to cow’s milk for some individuals, particularly those who are lactose intolerant, have dairy allergies, or follow a vegan diet, as it typically contains fewer calories and saturated fats, but its nutritional value may vary depending on the brand and fortification.
The healthiest type of milk depends on individual dietary needs and preferences, but unsweetened, fortified almond milk or other plant-based alternatives can be a healthier choice since they are lower in saturated fat compared to whole cow’s milk. However, for individuals who can tolerate dairy and want higher protein content, organic or grass-fed cow’s milk can be a nutritious option.
Almond milk can be a good option for some individuals with sensitive stomachs or lactose intolerance, as it is naturally lactose-free and easier to digest compared to cow’s milk, but its effects on an individual’s stomach can vary, and some people may experience digestive discomfort due to almond allergies or other factors. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional when introducing any new food or beverage into your diet.
Yes! You can use almond milk instead of regular milk. Just remember that almond milk tastes a little nutty and is slightly thinner than with regular milk.