Best weight: Prioritizing health over weight loss
When you get a craving for a tall, ice-cold glass of milk, but have a dairy milk allergy, intolerance or diet restriction, what do you do? Many people face this problem. Thanks to the rising popularity of plant-based beverages, there are endless options to choose from at the grocery store.
To help navigate the growing options, a team of registered dietitians at Calgary Foothills PCN recently rose to the challenge, setting out to find the most delicious and nutritionally balanced, plant-based milk substitute.
Plant-based beverages might look “milky” and taste creamy, but they’re made from plants rather than dairy – such as soy, rice, almonds, oats, peas, cashews or coconut, to name a few. Sometimes they are a blend of these ingredients. In any case, it can be difficult for consumers to know which plant-based beverage is the right choice for them.
“People use plant-based beverages for different reasons,” says Mikaela Jahrig, registered dietitian at the PCN. “The best option for you would be the one that meets your health needs – whether you’re looking for more protein or fat content, lower sugar levels or the best taste and texture.”
According to Dietitians of Canada, plant-based beverages can be nutritionally acceptable alternatives to dairy, as long as you take time to read the label:
The PCN’s registered dietitians underwent a plant-based beverage sampling challenge, with the intent of making recommendations to patients who need a dairy milk substitute. They sampled several types, comparing taste, texture, appearance and nutrition profiles including protein content, fibre, added sugar, saturated fat and calcium content.
The winner – drum roll, please – was Earth’s Own Barista Oat!
“Although it didn’t have the highest protein content, the mouthfeel and texture was our favourite – we preferred the neutral taste and found it foamed really well,” says Jahrig. “But again, choosing the right plant-based beverage really comes down to your own preferences and nutrition goals.”
Are you looking for more healthy eating tips and advice from a registered dietitian? Calgary Foothills PCN’s Ask a Dietitian and Craving Change group workshops — in-person or virtual — are free and can help you get on the right track. You can also book a one-on-one appointment with a PCN registered dietitian online or by phone.