There are a bunch of different options available for milk alternatives; soy, almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnut, and the list goes on! This post is about the unofficial top 3, being the easiest to find and carried by most coffee places. These 3 brands are all available at our grocery store: Silk Almond in Vanilla, So Nice Organic Soy in Vanilla, and So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Beverage in Vanilla.
So right off the bat we have the colour, and I’m pretty curious about why the coconut milk has such a pink tone to it! The Soy looks nicest, but both the almond and soy look creamy and “milk-like”. The coconut is a bit more watery in consistency.
Looking at the Nutrition Facts there are a few things going on (please note that I’m not a nutritionist!) All three give the data based on a 1 cup serving. Coconut has the lowest calories at 80 (Almond is 90 and Soy is 100), but has the most fat with 5g (Almond is 2.5g and Soy is 3g). When I check out the data on certain foods I am usually looking for the protein and iron content (I have very low iron). Coconut has, surprisingly, 0% of your daily recommended iron intake and just .4g of protein, while the Almond has 4% daily iron and 1g of protein, and the Soy has 6% daily iron and 6g of protein. The winner here is pretty clear, while the coconut has the lowest calories it also contains very little actual benefit containing just sugar and saturated fat. It does have way less sodium, just 10mg while the Almond has 160mg and the Soy has 120mg, but seeing as it doesn’t contain much of anything that’s not really surprising.
When we consider that people drink cow’s milk largely for calcium intake (at least that’s what the dairy industry wants you to believe! There is a LOT of suggestion that humans can’t actually absorb the calcium consumed with milk and that in actual fact cow’s milk LEECHES calcium from our bones… look it up) it seems like a good idea to look at the calcium content of these dairy-free milks. Coconut has, womp womp, 0% of your daily calcium intake. Almond and soy both have 30% of your daily intake (women under 50 should be getting 1000mg per day. Side note, the body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium, so make sure you get lots of sunlight or take a supplement of 400-800 IU if you live in a cave or under the sea.)
If we also want to consider the origins of the product, the So Nice Organic Soy is made locally to me so that is a big plus! Both the Almond and the Coconut come from the USA.
Taste-wise, the coconut milk was the most underwhelming. It was fairly watery, and the vanilla flavour was too subtle. The Soy is thicker and creamier, and the vanilla is also subtle but a bit stronger than the Coconut. The Almond was thick and creamy too, and had a sweeter vanilla flavour that I really liked. So things don’t look so good for the coconut milk… the soy milk was good but I definitely preferred the Almond.