There are many milk substitutes for people that are vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, or otherwise unable to drink regular milk. Rice milk is just one of these. But how healthy is rice milk and is it really an acceptable substitute? Read on to learn more.
Rice milk is usually made from filtered water, brown rice syrup, and brown rice starch, with thickening agents added. It has no animal content. Rice milk is largely a source of carbohydrates so it is not a complete nutritional replacement for cow’s milk (which contains protein, fat, and carbohydrates). It has less protein and calcium than cow’s milk, but it contains no cholesterol and no lactose.
While it is useful for cooking, be sure that you are eating a wide variety of other foods in order to get the full nutrients that you would have gotten from cow’s milk. Rice milk is not as thick as dairy or soy milks and has a somewhat translucent consistency. Because it is slightly sweet, it is more suited to desserts and baking than for savoury or salty dishes.
Rice milk is perfect for vegans and vegetarians as it has no animal products at all. It is also great for those that have a lactose intolerance or those with nut or dairy allergies. If you have a child that is allergic to nuts or dairy, always give them fortified rice milk. Add extra healthy fats to the diet to compensate for the lower fat content. Rice milk cannot be a substitute for infant formula and thus is not suitable for babies. Rice milk tastes good as it has the natural sweetness of rice. It does not require any additional sweetener to drink and it can be mixed with milk flavouring agents such as Milo. Rice milk lasts for one to two weeks after it has been opened.
If you choose to use rice milk in place of regular cow’s milk in the diet, ensure that it is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A. It may also be fortified with B vitamins, and iron. Rice related allergies are rare but check the ingredients list incase of preservatives or additives that some people may have a sensitivity to.