Comparing alternative

Comparing alternative "milks" milk-like beverages

Bailey Koch, RD, CSP, LD

Is a Registered Dietitian, board certified as a Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition. She founded Atlanta Pediatric Nutrition and joined the GI Care for Kids team, providing nutrition counseling to patients and families.

Cow's milk is an important part of a child's diet because of all the protein, calories, calcium and phosphorus it provides.  Vitamin D is added to ensure that a child drinking 4 cups receives  400 iu daily  (know that the minimum daily requirement has been increased to 600 iu per day, so more is still needed).. 

But many children are allergic or have lactose intolerance. They can't drink "regular" milk, and they can' t have cow's milk cheeses, regular ice cream or even yogurt. So other milk-like beverages have been manufactured to give these children something nutritious to drink. They aren't real milk, because only  mammals can create milk to feed their infants. 

The beverages listed here are alternatives when cow's milk can't be used. There are multiple varieties and the complete list can be found on Nutrition4Kids too. This abbreviated list shows the best version of each, taking the protein, calories, fat, calcium and vitamin D into account. 

Please note that while cow's milk provides 150 calories and 8 grams (g) of protein,  almond milk only gives a child 90 calories and 5 g of protein (only because pea protein has been added–when pea protein isn't there in the other versions, the protein drops dramatically, and potato milk has no protein at all. so you have to exercise care when selecting the beverage for your child. Also, some of these milk have other allergens (soy or nuts, for example) which becomes important for children with multiple food allergies. And there are concerns about the arsenic in rice milk. Even though the arsenic is a small amount, it adds up, especially when you are trying to get your child to get enough vitamin D.

Brand Various Meyenberg Silk Rice Dream Pacific Ripple Silk
Product Whole Cow Milk Whole Goat Milk Original Enriched Original Original Original original protein + fiber
Serving Size 8 fl oz 8 fl oz 8 fl oz 8 fl oz 8 fl oz 8 fl oz 8 fl oz
Nutrients per serving              
Calories 150 142 110 120 130 100 90
Fat 8 g 7.2 g 4.5 g 2.5 g 2.5 g 5 g 2.5 g
Protein 8 g 8.45 g 8 g 1 g 4 g 8 g 5 g
Sugars 12 g 11 g 6 g 10 g 19 g 6 g 9 g
Cholesterol 24 mg 25 mg 0 mg 0 mg 0 g 0 g 0 mg
Fiber 0 g 0 g 2 g 0 g 2 g <1 g 5 g
Calcium 270 mg 307 mg 450 mg 300 mg 350 mg 450 mg 450 mg
Vitamin D 124 IU 100 IU 180 IU 150 IU 150 IU 180 IU 150 IU
Allergens   not appropriate for CM allergic patients     not appropriate on wheat free or GF diet   contains corn/pea protein

Subscribe Be the first to know