Here at the barre, we try to maintain healthy habits for a balance lifestyle, and that includes giving our body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. We probably all grew up drinking milk (or at least dipping our cookies in it :)) and hearing that it did the body good, but back then it was just milk – the varieties you chose from were whole, 2%, 1%, non-fat…and that was the end of it. These days there are so many varieties of milk out there, it can be a little tricky to decipher the benefit of one over another, and sometimes we just get the feeling that actually we’re just falling for a marketing ploy!
We typically look to milk for our calcium, keeping in mind that most women’s adult bonemass peaks at age 30 and is on a steady decline from there. Whether you’re looking for your calcium or not, turns out most of the milk options out there actually do have their nutritional benefits – you can custom make your latte, cereal, smoothie or coffee add-in to best serve your diet’s needs. Thanks to Women’s Health Magazine for the nutritional data, see the full slideshow at the end.
Here’s the breakdown of four of the most popular milks out there, the pro’s, con’s & nutritional data to help you decide which is best for you:
Regular Cow’s Milk: Non-Fat
Horizon Diary Organic Fat-Free Milk Per cup: 90 cal, 0 fat, 13 g carbs (12 g sugar), 130 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 8 g protein
The most traditional in the bunch is an excellent source of calcium, but poor in iron, potassium and magnesium.Vitamins A and D are the major fat-soluble vitamins in nonfat milk. Since fat is needed for transport and absorption of these vitamins, you should consume other foods that have some fat (preferably unsaturated) such as nuts and seeds. Other vitamins in milk include thiamin, riboflavin and B12.
the barre recommends: Because of its great potassium levels and low calories, the old standard is still a great option for your AM latte, in your milk, tea, or it makes a great complement to whole-grain cereals that lack in calcium.
Almond milk is the least caloric of our milk options, but skimps on much of the nutrition as well – while it is fortified with Vitamins E, A & D and calcium, it is higher in sodium and lacks the wonderful fiber & protein found in actual almonds (since they’re ground and mixed with H2O here).
Women’s Health recommends: because of its creamy, rich taste, use in smoothies, coffee, and cereal
So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Original Per cup: 80 cal, 5 g fat (5 g sat), 7 g carbs (6 g sugars), 15 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
Coconut milk is definitely low in calories, but very high in saturated fat. You lose a lot of the protein in cow’s & soy milk, but most varieties are fortified with B12, a brain-boosting vitamin.
Women’s Health recommends: Play up its rich, creamy, coconut flavor in coffee, tea, pudding, smoothies, and oatmeal—it’s a go-to thickener.
Soy milk has almost as much protein as cow’s milk, but add in plant chemicals it contains that may help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. However, limit yourself to 25 g of soy per day, as exceeding this may put you at increased risk for developing breast cancer.
Women’s Health recommends: Because of its faintly sweet flavor, it goes best in creamy soups and salad dressings, sauces, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Vanilla-flavored varieties are great in coffee or tea (or by the glass!).
To see the full slideshow, including the more exotic varieties of milk we didn’t discuss (hemp & rice), click here.
Remember to check out our website for more info about us here at the barre. We’re buckled up right next to you on the journey to extraordinary!