Rice milk

Rice milk is a grain milk made from rice and is a common substitute for cow’s milk. Because it is completely devoid of animal contents, it is considered acceptable for vegans and vegetarians alike. Lactose, an ingredient in cow’s milk, is also absent from rice milk, and therefore makes it tolerable to those with lactose intolerance. However, just because it is called milk does not mean it provides all of the same nutrients that cow’s milk does. You should be aware of what to look for when buying rice milk and how you should make up for the lacking nutrients in other ways through your diet.

What’s the Difference Between Cow’s Milk and Rice Milk?
Rice milk, just like cow’s milk, can be found at any grocery store or whole foods market. The consumer product is often more expensive per gallon than cow’s milk, but the alternative to that is it’s easy to make at home. There are plenty of online recipes that have a variety of directions, but use the same basic ingredients: rice, water, salt, and vanilla. The table below shows the nutrition analysis of rice milk and the different fat content varieties of cow’s milks.

Per 1 cup serving 2% Cow’s Milk 1% Cow’s Milk Skim Cow’s Milk Rice Milk (Not Enriched)
Calories 120 100 170 120
Total Fat (Saturated fat) 5 g (3 g) 2 g (2 g) 0 g (0 g) 2.5g (0g)
Carbohydrates 12 g 12 g 12 g 23 g
Protein 8 g 8 g 8 g 1 g
Calcium 290 mg 290 mg 300 mg 20 mg

As you can see, cow’s milk is much higher in protein, fat, and calcium, and rice milk is well known for its carbohydrate content. Often times, rice milk is enriched with vitamins and minerals, so look for varieties that say “enriched” on the carton. Calcium, vitamin B12, and iron are among these vitamins and minerals commonly added. If you opt for an un-enriched version, be sure to make up for the losses of these vitamins and minerals in other food sources. If you’re drinking rice milk because of lactose intolerance or strict veganism, then dairy products would not be the ideal choice for calcium supplementation; in this case, you can eat soy, green leafy vegetables, or nuts.

Rice milk comes in a variety of flavors, similar to cow’s milk. Vanilla, chocolate, and almond can be found in the store next to the unflavored original carton. Look for rice milk in the refrigerated section or on a shelf for the shelf-stable version.

Can Rice Milk Be Used As a Substitute in Cooking?
In most recipes, rice milk can be substituted for cow’s milk. The only downside is that it has a naturally sweet taste, even the unflavored version, and so it might not be the best choice to add to mashed potatoes or a creamy soup. Of course, this is all up to personal preference. In desserts, there are no limits to the substitutions that you can do.

Is Rice Milk Okay For Kids?
Rice milk will be just fine for children over a year old, as long as you’re either buying the enriched version or making up for the vitamins and minerals that are lacking in the rice milk. Protein is one nutrient that is not added into the enriched rice milk, and as this is a very important component to a child’s diet, it is extremely important to feed him or her a lot of dietary protein. It will be especially helpful if your child has symptoms of lactose intolerance. Switching from cow’s milk to rice milk is a perfect choice for anybody if special attention is paid to vitamin and mineral intake.

Last updated on Jun 21st, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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