5 alternatives to milk you need to know about

With increasing diagnosis of milk allergies and lactose intolerance, drinking cow’s milk is not an option for many children. The jury is still out on whether milk is actually beneficial for kids, or has no effect at all or is, in fact, bad for kids. But while the experts figure that out completely, those of you who have children who cannot drink cow’s milk know how hard it is to make sure your child gets all the nourishment that milk provides. I know that struggle because my 7 year old is lactose intolerant and so we have to be careful about his diet. Strangely enough, he is tolerant to yoghurt, cheese, and buttermilk. It’s just cow’s milk that gives him rashes and an upset tummy. Luckily, we now have alternatives in India.

1. Pediasure:

This has no lactose content and while it’s not natural, it claims to be packed with nutrition that allows you to substitute your child’s morning and evening milk with its warm flavour. (Again, I want to stress this is for children who are lactose intolerant, not everyone. Ideally, this should be consumed in consultation with a paediatrician.)

2. Goat’s milk:

Dr Loveen Batra, a sports nutritionist based in New Delhi is quoted as saying, “It has a similar composition to cow milk but could be a healthier replacement, as it is lower in fat and rich in protein and calcium.” Benefits include easy digestion and the ability to reduce tummy-related inflammation.

3. Soy milk:

An extract of soybeans, soy milk is a popular milk substitute for lactose intolerant people as well as those who practise veganism. As it is a plant-milk, it is naturally low in saturated fat, and contains no lactose. With protein content being as high has it is in cow’s milk, soy milk is also a good source of protein, vitamin A, B12, D and potassium. However, prolonged usage has been linked to fertility problems later in life.

4. Almond milk:

Expensive, and has a heavy carbon footprint but has zero lactose and is quite yummy. Low on cholesterol, lactose-free and high on potassium, vitamin A and D. This can be an addition for adults too, not just for kids.

5. Coconut milk:

If you can take the strong flavour, then you should most certainly try coconut milk. It is lactose-free and comes from the fruit that is a rich source of fibre, vitamin C, B1, iron, calcium and magnesium.