6 Healthy Milk Alternatives for Teenager
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Jan 25, 2020
Making your child finish a glass of milk is quite a task for most of the mothers. Yes, milk does provide a wide range of nutrients like proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals but that doesn’t mean that the glass of milk is not negotiable. There can be other alternatives to milk which are comparable to its nutritional strength.
Alternatives to Dairy Milk
Thinking of what is a good substitute for milk? Are milk alternatives better for your child? The following can be a good alternative source of milk...
Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. If your child is lactose intolerant, many slices of cheese, particularly aged cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss, contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated. Around 45-50 grams of cheese can give the benefits of a glass of milk. cottage cheese/ paneer obtained with curdling of milk with lemon/vinegar is nutritionally similar to cheese (with no added salt). [Read - Is Bottle Feeds The Right Choice for Babies?]
Tips: Use cheese slices as a dry snack when traveling; they are non-messy and filling. Also, add cheese to upma, uttapam, fill in paranthas or spread on top of a parantha, add to dosa, grate on soups, or you can add them to vegetable rolls and patties.
Made out of dahi/yogurt, this too is highly nutritious and an excellent source of protein, calcium, and potassium. It provides numerous vitamins and minerals and is relatively low in calories. A cup of yogurt has similar nutrients as a cup of milk. Since the lactose in yogurt has been converted to lactic acid, it can be consumed by lactose-intolerant children too.
Besides the properties such as milk, yogurt has probiotics also that help maintains the balance of bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system; boost the immune system, shortening the length and severity of sickness; and may reduce eczema in babies. While yogurt is commercially produced, dahi can be set at home. Both have a different strain of bacteria but are probiotic and beneficial for health.
Tips: Increase the consumption of yogurt in your child’s diet by adding muesli or any favorite breakfast cereal to beaten yogurt; make a fruit lassi or a smoothie with your child’s favorite fruit and nuts; use hung curd with seasonings as dips and salad dressing; using curd instead of cream to thicken gravies.
For vegans or people with strict milk product allergy, there is plant milk too.
#3. Nut Milk
Nut milk as the name suggests is made by grinding nuts along with water and it is strained to get a liquid. This can be made with coconut, almond or cashew nuts. This milk would be deficient in vitamin B12, as the origin is plant-based and would have lesser proteins compared to dairy or soy milk.
Almond milk is most nutritious in terms of health benefits and nutrients it offers compared to other nut milk. But since almond is an expensive nut the actual amount of nut which is used in making the milk could vary a lot. Though it has lesser calories and proteins it is a good source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant ) with no saturated fats and cholesterol. It has a pleasant flavor and creamy texture similar to dairy milk that most enjoy. Since it lacks in most minerals and vitamins it is not a suitable alternative for infants. Other common nut milks include cashew, hazelnut, and walnut milk.
#4. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk may be the closest milk alternative with the texture of whole milk. It is relatively high in fat with about 50 grams of saturated fat per serving. Coconut milk, along with most nut milk, works well in baked goods because of their nutty flavors. Also often free of soy and gluten, coconut milk is often a good choice for those with multiple food allergies.
Tips: Add it in gravies such as Thai cooking for a smooth, sweet taste. Also, can be made into desserts.
#5. Soy Milk
Soymilk is an excellent source of high-quality protein, B-vitamins and small quantities of iron. Though it is not a rich source of calcium, but commercial soymilk products are fortified with calcium and vitamin A and D.Though soymilk has health benefits for adults (prevention of heart disease and certain cancers too), it should not be given to children below 2 years of age as it can lead to allergic reactions sometimes.
Tips: There are lots of flavored soymilk available in the market that is tasty and healthy too. You can use soymilk in a similar fashion as regular milk—use in shakes, with cereals, knead in the dough, etc.
Tofu, also known as soya curd, is soft cheese-like food. It is made by curdling soya milk with a coagulant nigari which is rich in calcium. This makes tofu not only rich in protein, B-vitamins but also in calcium. Other health benefits of tofu include lowering the bad LDL cholesterol and maintaining good HDL cholesterol. It has isoflavones that lower the risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Tips: Saute tofu with brightly colored vegetables and string together on a toothpick. Serve as an interesting looking snack. Or use it as a dessert. Mash it finely into almost a paste-like consistency, add powdered sugar, elaichi powder. Roll into laddoos or set as barfi. Soya sandesh is ready!