If you’ve been pondering the idea of making a switch from traditional cow’s milk to the trendy newcomer on the block, oat milk, you’re in the right place.
Today, I’m diving into the creamy world of oat milk and comparing it to good ol’ cow’s milk. From best uses to nutritional comparisons, I’m breaking down everything you need to know. So, let’s get started!
Comparing oat milk vs milk
|Oat milk||Cow milk (including whole, 2%, skim, etc.)|
Oat milk is a plant-based alternative, making it a go-to for those seeking a vegan-friendly option. Cow’s milk, being animal-based, has been a dietary staple for centuries but cow milk allergies are amongst the most common food allergies.
Neither oat milk nor cow’s milk is going to align with paleo or keto diets due to their high carbohydrate and sugar content.
Differences between oat milk and milk
Oat milk and cow’s milk differ significantly in their source, composition, nutritional content, and uses.
Oat milk is a plant-based alternative made by blending oats and water, resulting in a creamy liquid. Here’s how to make your own at home! Common additives in oat milk can include stabilizers (such as carrageenan or guar gum), vitamins, minerals, and flavorings to enhance texture, taste, and nutritional content.
In contrast, cow’s milk comes from lactating cows and contains water, fats, proteins, lactose, vitamins, and minerals.
Oat milk boasts a slightly sweet, mild flavor and creamy texture. Cow’s milk has a creamy and slightly sweet taste, with a subtle richness from its fat content. The exact taste can vary based on factors such as the cow’s diet and the processing methods used.
Types of cow’s milk
Cow’s milk comes in a variety of forms with different fat levels and properties. Here’s a quick rundown:
Whole milk: At 3.5% milk fat, this is the creamiest of the lot.
2% milk (reduced-fat): With 2% milk fat, it’s a lighter option without sacrificing too much creaminess.
1% milk (low-fat): This contains only 1% milk fat, making it even lighter.
Skim milk (non-fat): With 0% milk fat, it’s the leanest choice.
Lactose-free milk: A great option for the lactose intolerant, this milk has the lactose broken down for easier digestion.
Raw cow milk (whole): Unpasteurized and unchanged, this milk comes straight from the cow.
Flavored milk: Chocolate, strawberry, and more – these milks come with added flavoring and sweetness.
How to use oat milk vs milk
Now, let’s talk about how to incorporate these milks into your daily recipes:
- Coffee creamer (see my favorite oat milk for coffee here)
- Baking substitute (in certain recipes)
- Pancake or waffle batter
- Dairy-free ice cream
- Classic drink on its own
- Lattes and cappucinos
- Baking staple (think cakes, peach cobbler, and bread)
- Creamy base for soups and sauces
- Mashed potatoes
- Puddings and custards
Can you substitute oat milk for milk?
Yes! In my experience, oat milk can often be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in many recipes and beverages, including coffee, tea, smoothies, cereal, baking, and cooking. However, it’s important to note that oat milk has a slightly different flavor and texture compared to cow’s milk, so the final result might vary slightly in some recipes.
Nutrition: Oat milk vs milk
Oat milk is often fortified with nutrients like calcium and vitamin D to match the nutrient profile of cow’s milk. However, oat milk typically has fewer calories and less protein and saturated fat than milk.
If you’re a label-reader, here’s a sneak peek into what you’re dealing with:
|Per cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|Oat milk||45||0.5 g (0 g)||8 g||0 g||1 g||25% DV||20% 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 oat milk and milk
Oat milk is usually sold in cartons that can be stored at room temperature until opened due to its aseptic packaging techniques. Oat milk typically has a longer shelf life than regular dairy milk. Unopened oat milk can last anywhere from 1 to 4 months when stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within 7 to 10 days.
On the other hand, regular dairy milk has a shorter shelf life. Depending on factors like temperature and packaging, unopened dairy milk usually lasts around 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Once opened, it should be consumed within about 5 to 7 days.
It’s important to note that these timeframes are general guidelines, and the actual shelf life can vary based on the specific brand, processing methods, and storage conditions. Always check the packaging for the manufacturer’s recommendations and use your best judgment when assessing the freshness and quality of any product!
Oat milk vs milk: The ultimate verdict
And now, the moment of truth – which one’s the winner? I gotta say I prefer oat milk because it’s a dairy-free, creamy option that tastes great in coffee. But if you can tolerate traditional dairy milk, it’s still a good option for drinking, cooking and baking – offering more protein and a natural source of calcium.
Oat milk and cow’s milk have different nutritional profiles, and whether one is healthier than the other depends on individual dietary needs and preferences. Oat milk is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, making it a favorable option for those seeking a plant-based or lower-fat alternative, while cow’s milk provides higher protein and natural sources of vitamins and minerals.
There are various reasons to choose oat milk, such as dietary preferences or restrictions (vegan or lactose-free diets), a desire for a lower-fat and plant-based alternative, and its suitability for individuals looking to reduce their environmental impact by consuming a more sustainable plant-based option.
It depends on the brand and type. Flavored oat milks can be higher in sugar due to added sweeteners, so always check the label and look for varieties that say “unsweetened” to avoid added sugar.