Plant Based Milk Alternatives for You & Your Little
Please note I am by no means an expert. This is solely based on my own research.
Over the last year I have done research over and over again to find out what is the best plant based milk alternative that I can give me son to fit his nutritional needs. I am in numerous groups on Facebook where I see daily “What is the best whole fat dairy” they can give their little.. I refuse to give my son dairy because I for one am dairy intolerant & it’s against my beliefs. I am plant based but I am not a preacher by any means, you can look up & educate yourself else where because I am not here to step on toes! You can feed your little & yourself whatever you chose! I’m just simply sharing what works for us as a plant based family and to help those of you who would like to go the alternative route to feeding your little cow’s milk products.
Last week I shared on my Instagram that I am no longer pumping for Lucas to have my breast milk. He has now fully transitioned to having pea milk or pea milk mixed with half soy. He loves it! I switched him slowly making the transition smooth by first mixing the pea milk with my breast milk. Half/Half of each made it so he got use to the taste. I started to slowly increase the amount as my supply decreased. Originally I just tried to wing it and give him full straight milk alternative and that was a no go! The only milk he would take was breast milk or almond milk. It’s been said that almond milk actually is the closest in taste to breast milk! Who knew!
When you’re look for an alternative, you want to look for something as close to 65kcals/100ml and 3g protein/100ml as possible. This is why Lucas consumes Pea Milk & Soy occasionally. The nice thing to note as well is that most alternative milks contain the same amount of sugar per cup as breast milk does!
Pea Milk is relatively newer to everyone. When Ripple Pea Milk hit the shelves I remember the vegan community going CRAZY over it! I sure did.. Vanilla, Chocolate HELLO! I absolutely went nuts. Their chocolate milk is hands down my favorite and the thickness is the closest to dairy chocolate milk.
As for the kiddos, pea milk is our main source of fat/protein in a glass for Lucas. He loves the taste now that he has adjusted to it and it contains 8 grams of protein per cup & 4.5 grams of fat and 45% Calcium. That’s 50% more thats 2% dairy milk! You’re also getting in Vitamin D, Iron & Potassium and DHA.
Pea Milk is one of the best milk alternative you can buy, and it’s perfect for kiddo’s who go to school because it’s nut free! However, the only downfall is that it is expensive.
Soy Milk can be tricky. You have probably heard so many conflicting things about Soy. So I have quotes below from Harvard School Of Public Health.
Soy is unique in that it contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen but with much weaker effects. Soy isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and cause either weak estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity. The two major soy isoflavones are called genistein and daidzein. Soy isoflavones and soy protein appear to have different actions in the body based on the following factors:
Type of study. Is it being examined in a study with animals or humans? Soy may be metabolized differently in animals, so the outcomes of animal studies may not be applicable to humans.
Ethnicity. Soy may be broken down and used by the body differently in different ethnic groups, which is why individuals from some countries who eat a lot of soy appear to benefit from the food.
Hormone levels. Because soy can have estrogenic properties, its effects can vary depending on the existing level of hormones in the body. Premenopausal women have much higher circulating levels of estradiol—the major form of estrogen in the human body—than postmenopausal women. In this context soy may act like an anti-estrogen, but among postmenopausal women soy may act more like an estrogen. Also, women with breast cancer are classified into hormone type—either hormone positive (ER+/PR+) or hormone negative (ER-/PR-) breast cancer—and these tumors respond differently to estrogens
Type of soy. What type of soy is being studied: Whole soy foods such as tofu and soybeans, processed versions like soy protein powders, or soy-based veggie burgers? Fermented or unfermented soy foods? If supplements are used, do they contain isoflavones or soy protein?
We use soy in our home and always buy only organic. My husband consumes soy daily where as I do not, I have actually started to have an intolerance to it unfortunately and was aware from prior allergy testing that I was sensitive to it. That being said, Lucas tolerates it but doesn’t have it daily, he also doesn’t consumer any other soy products as of yet. Soy can be a common allergen in children but soy milk is also a close dupe for “low-fat” cows milk. It contains 7 grams of protein and 4 grams for fat. However it does not beat out Pea milk in calcium as some only carry 20%.
Almond milk has always been known for not having the right nutrients content that a toddler needs. It’s ground up almonds and water. Although it contains a lot of Vitamin E because of the almonds it lacks the fat and proteins. One cup of almond milk is approx 40 calories and only 1g protein, and up to 4g fat. Almond milk is a good sip drink if your tot is getting enough proteins and fats in their daily diet form their meals. When Lucas was wanting almond milk I would make it a priority to give him a full avocado that day as it has 23g of healthy fat and lentils or other legumes for his protein. He is a lentil fanatic! Lucas no longer has almond milk unless his nutritional fat/protein needs are met during the day. It’s almost like a treat. On the plus side the Silk Original is fortified with 50% of your B12 vitamin & 30% Calcium in 1 cup. Including other vitamins as well. Which is perfect for plant based children and famjams! (Note that the link I have provided has the old Silk Original and the nutritional facts are not up to date.)