Thursday, July 17, 2014

Got Milk? An Overview

Flavored? Unflavored? Sweetened? Unsweetened? With many types of milk now available in the grocery store, the options can be overwhelming! Different people have different needs, so it's smart to educate yourself and find the type that’s just right for you. Several nutrition factors to consider in selecting a type of milk are calorie, fat, calcium and protein content. We’ve broken down five popular types of milk to present the essential nutrition information to help guide you as you make a decision.

8oz. serving of Calories   Fat      Calcium   Protein  Vitamin D
Cow's milk (whole) 150 8g 25% DV 8g 25% DV
Cow's milk (skim) 80 0g 30% DV 8g 25% DV
Soy milk 110 4.5g   45% DV 8g 30% DV
Almond milk
(unsweet, unflavored) 
40 2.5g 45% DV 1g 25% DV
Coconut milk
45 4.5g 45% DV 0g 25% DV

DV = Daily Value

Nutritional Needs
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that adults consume a minimum of 1,000 mg of calcium per day, although that increases to 1,300 mg per day for teenagers and 1,200 for women over 50. Just one eight-ounce glass of milk provides a significant source of calcium (cow’s milk has about 300 mg of calcium per 8 oz. serving). Almond and coconut milk provide as much Vitamin D and calcium as cow’s milk, but if you’re looking for a rich source of protein, almond and coconut milk might not be the best choice.

Cooking Uses
Using the different flavors and consistencies in milk can help you make even more delicious meals. Many Indian and Thai dishes call for coconut milk, as the sweet flavor and creamy consistency help bolster the exotic flavors in the recipes. Soy milk can be used as you would use cow’s milk in most recipes. Since it is a great source of protein, try it in energy-boosting foods, like baked oatmeal or homemade protein bars. Almond and soy milk are available in flavors like vanilla, which can be great in dessert recipes.

Dietary Preferences
If you are lactose intolerant but still want to consume recipes that involve milk or eat cereal, the use of almond or soy milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk. If you are dieting or simply trying to cut extra calories, the use of almond milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk. If you don’t like drinking it out of a glass at first, try it mixed in a smoothie or over cereal. 

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