Alternatives to Cow’s Milk for Children
If your child is lactose intolerant or if you are trying to live a vegetarian lifestyle, then you probably want to remove cow’s milk from your child’s diet. While milk is often a staple in most children’s diet, there are many alternatives made from plant and other animal sources that are sure to match your needs. You should be able to find most of these alternative milk in an average supermarket or health food store.
One of the most unique things about soy milk is that it lacks galactose. This is a special type of lactose that newborns cannot tolerate. If you cannot breastfeed your child, then soy milk is a good alternative. While a lot of lands is needed to grow the soybeans, soy milk has a much smaller impact on the environment than cow’s milk.
Another good thing is that soy milk comes in many flavors. While this does increase the sugar content, a cup of chocolate or vanilla soy milk every now and then isn’t a bad thing.
If your child has a difficult time with sugar, then almond milk might be the best milk alternative. It isn’t as sweet as soy milk, but the flavor is still very good and many children will get used to it within a week or two. Almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, manganese and selenium. These nutrients are often difficult to find in other food sources. Almond milk also helps prevent tissue and cell damage.
Almond milk has nearly as much protein as cow’s milk. It also has a good amount of unsaturated fat. While it doesn’t taste anything like cow’s milk, most children don’t complain about the difference.
This won’t be suitable if you live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but it’s surprisingly good if your child is lactose intolerant. This is surprising because goat’s milk has lactose just like most other animal-based milk, but most people with lactose intolerance do not react to it. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but there are a few theories. One theory is that goat’s milk digests much easier than cow’s milk. This leaves fewer residues in the colon so that the lactose doesn’t stay in the body and aggravate the intolerance.
Another theory is that it may not be the lactose bothering these people. About 10 percent of people diagnosed as lactose intolerant are really allergic to cow’s milk and not the lactose. Regardless of the reason, goat’s milk is easier to digest, has more minerals and it’s safe for most children. The milk is a little tangier, but the difference isn’t that pronounced.
Rice milk has some good and bad properties. This milk has much less fat than most other milk products. It also is the easiest to digest and it’s the most hypoallergenic milk product that you can buy. The bad thing about rice milk is that rice contains a lot of starch that changes to sugar once the grain is made into a milk product. One cup of rice milk has over 30 grams of sugar. If your child has diabetes or a problem with sugar, then rice milk is definitely not the best cow’s milk alternative.
This milk is best if your child has allergies or problems digesting fat. If you do buy rice milk, then be sure to get a fortified product because unfortified rice milk only has one gram of protein.
There are many different alternatives to cow’s milk that are healthy, have a small carbon footprint and they can help mitigate any digestive problems that your child has. Be sure to pick a milk alternative that won’t aggravate any existing conditions. You don’t want to buy rice milk if your child has diabetes or problems with sugar.