Those who switch to a plant-based diet may miss the pleasures of dairy beverages -- creamy chocolate milks, fruity drinkable yogurts and even energy-boosting protein shakes that typically contain milk and whey proteins.
But as more people incorporate plant-based foods, brands are coming up with tasty alternatives that don’t feel like a sacrifice.
“I’ve had clients from Louisiana who were raised on cream in everything and are easing into a plant-based diet,” said Los Angeles nutritionist and chef Serena Poon. Her secret for leaning in? “I take a whole milk product, split it in half, add a vegan one and blend the two.” The next step, Poon says, is to venture into the new vegan offerings showing up on store shelves, including many that boast healthful probiotics. One warning, though. Many products boost the flavor with added sugars, so read labels carefully. For those looking to cut back on dairy, here are some ideas:
Cultured coconut and almond milk, oat fiber and fruit juices make up the Probiotic Yogurt drinks from Califia Farms, which launched this past summer; pour them into a bowl of cereal, splash atop oatmeal or drink on their own. Each 8 oz. serving contains probiotics important for gut health. They come in flavors such as unsweetened plain, mango, strawberry and super berry, and contain between 100 and 150 calories. Available in 8 oz. and 25.4 oz bottles, priced $2.69 or $5.49 respectively, at Gelson’s, Lassens, Vons, Albertsons. califiafarms.com
Makers Helena Lumme and Mika Manninen use organic oats from their native Scandinavia as the base of their clean non-dairy yogurt drink, Halsa Oatgurt. The refreshing and tangy beverage, which has both prebiotics and probiotics said to foster gut health, contains fermented organic whole-grain oats, pea protein and organic fruit, with no added sugars, in 120 to 130 calories per 8 oz bottle; the formula was four years in development. Flavors include blueberry, mango pear, strawberry and apple cinnamon. $17.94 for a case of six at amazon.com. halsafoods.com
More pea-based milks are showing up on grocery shelves, as a dairy-free alternative to nuts, rice and soy. From Bolthouse Farms: creamy milks made from pea protein, offering 10 grams of protein per serving (compared with 1 gram in almond milk) and with between 90 and 160 calories in an 8 oz. serving. They can be used as a base for smoothies, as a milk replacement in recipes or consumed on their own. Available in unsweetened, original, vanilla and chocolate. $4.49 for 48 oz. at Ralphs. bolthouse.com
For a post-workout boost, new shakes from Berkeley-based Ripple Foods have 20 grams of protein per serving. The Ripple Nutrition line, which came to market earlier this month, gets its protein from peas. The formula also claims to help with muscle soreness and promote recovery after tough workouts. The drinks do not need to be refrigerated, and each 12-oz. serving has 200 calories and is sweetened with a combination of organic cane sugar and monk fruit.
Available in vanilla and chocolate. $9.99 for a four-pack at Target, ripplefoods.com