Do you dairy? If you’ve strolled down the milk aisle at your grocery store, you’ve probably noticed a plethora of nondairy beverages lining refrigerator shelves. If you’re questioning the best choice for you and your family, utilize this guide to make an informed decision.

When choosing a milk or milk alternative, consider the following:

  • How does the nutrient content of each beverage compare to my family’s needs?
  • Does anyone in my family have a food allergy?
  • What is my family’s taste preference?
  • How many ingredients does the beverage contain?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Are there religious, cultural, or environmental considerations that could influence my selection?

When milk alternatives are marketed, real dairy milk is often used as a standard for comparison with other beverages, so the following chart highlights cow’s milk along with the most popular vegetarian alternatives available.

Feeling torn? Here are some tips…

  • What led you to purchase your current milk or milk alternative? Marketing can have a powerful influence on consumers’ decisions. Be sure to gather the facts so your “why” is based on truth rather than perception. Is it time to reconsider?
  • Have you collected all the facts but still feel unsure about the best choice for your family? Try doing a blind taste test with your top options.
  • Remember: Quality over quantity! It can be tempting to choose the lowest calorie option, but when it comes to milk and milk alternatives, fewer calories can mean fewer nutrients and lower satisfaction (which can lead to raiding the pantry an hour after that bowl of cereal with a low-calorie milk alternative).

Blair Mize, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN is co-owner of Memphis Nutrition Group, a nutrition & lifestyle counseling practice operated by registered & licensed dietitians/nutritionists. Memphis Nutrition Group believes in a non-diet approach that promotes overall health and optimal performance without compromising the enjoyment of food. For more information call Memphis Nutrition Group at 901.343.6146 or visit