Which Milk Is Right for You?

A nutritional comparison of the different types of milk


Dairy Milk

Glass and bottle of milk
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Got milk? Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk... these days, there are so many milk alternatives on shelves. Curious about the differences? Here's a comparison all the different milks available. 

With all the milk alternatives out there, it’s easy to forget about good old dairy milk. Fat-free (a.k.a. skim) milk is great if you're watching your calories, and especially if you’re watching your fat intake. The taste is mild, and it's extremely versatile. Plus, it has a solid amount of calcium and an impressive protein count. But if you’re looking to cut even more calories and/or are sensitive to dairy, you might want to check out some swaps.

1 cup of fat-free milk has 90 calories, 0g fat, 126mg sodium, 13g carbs, 0g fiber, 12.5g sugars, and 8g protein.



Which Milk Is Right for You? SOYMILK
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Made from ground soybeans mixed with water, soymilk is a classic substitute for its dairy counterpart. For people who are lactose intolerant or have dairy sensitivities, soymilk is a great choice. It packs just as much calcium as regular milk, although not quite as much protein. As far as texture goes, it's pretty creamy—definitely richer than skim milk. And vanilla varieties have a really great flavor, and they add a little something special to your cereal, low-calorie smoothies, and even baked goods. Go for light options, which are significantly lower in calories. There are also unsweetened types out there which are slightly higher in calories but good for those tracking their sugar intake.

1 cup of light vanilla soymilk has 73 calories, 1.5g fat, 98mg sodium, 8g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, and 6g protein.


Almond Milk

Which Milk is Right for You? Almond milk
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Super low in calories and high in deliciousness, unsweetened vanilla almond milk is a favorite milk swap. It has a slightly nutty flavor, but overall it's pretty mild. Almond milk is a great choice for anyone who's sensitive to both dairy and soy. And like soymilk, it's creamier than fat-free dairy milk. The drawbacks? It's low in calcium and protein. However, there are some varieties with added calcium and protein that are worth seeking out. To top it all off, did you know that almonds are a beautifying food? 

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk has 35 calories, 2.5g fat, 178mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0.5g fiber, <0.5g sugars, and 1g protein


Coconut Milk

Coconut milk

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

Coconut milk is not coconut water (the liquid that comes straight out of a coconut), and it’s not the condensed stuff you buy in a can. Technically, this stuff is called "coconut milk beverage." It has a slight sweetness and a nice rich texture. Coconut milk has the most fat of these milk swaps, so skip it if that’s a concern. It also tends to be low in calcium and protein. But if you love coconut flavor and don't mind the extra fat, this might be the right choice for you. It works especially well in coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies.

1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk has 50 calories, 5g fat, 15mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, and 1g protein.


Cashew Milk

Which Milk is Right for You? CASHEW MILK
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Cashew milk is one of the newest milk alternatives out there. The unsweetened type is very low in calories and some brands are fortified with calcium. But like most milk swaps, it's low in protein. It has a slightly nutty flavor, like almond milk, but it's even creamier. 

1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk has 30 calories, 2.5g fat, 123mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, and <0.5g protein.

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