*Long time, no type!  It’s been a whirlwind for me ever since finals week, back in May, and things still haven’t slowed down as much as I would have liked.  First there were tests, then Italy (!!!), home for a few days before another trip to DC for my brother’s high school graduation (!!!)…and now, my summer online class has started.  Not to mention the near-constant house projects and yard work (welcome back to home-ownership) that keeps me from the computer.  And did I mention we’re hosting THREE sets of friends in the next two weeks?  Alright…you more than get the picture.  I’ll make every effort to get back to our regular programming for the rest of the summer.

MILK!  It’s so basic, yet so controversial.  Growing up, drinking milk wasn’t a question; only what percent fat (skim, 1%, 2% or 4%) your mom bought at the store made a difference.  I remember growing up on 2% and visiting cousins who drank skim–wow, what a difference!  Nowadays, we have a multitude of varieties made from all sorts of things we never knew could make ‘milk,’ and there is even the question of whether we should drink milk in the first place…  No matter what you prefer, here’s the lowdown on the mustache-leaving drink.

Cow’s Milk: Skim and lowfat milk is high in calcium, protein and potassium and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.  If you’re worried about any antibiotics, including growth hormone, be sure to buy organic.  Also, nearly 13% of the population is lactose intolerant, so those individuals may need to consider Lactaid or other lactose-free milks.

Stats: (Skim) 83 cal, .2g fat (.1g sat fat), 8 g protein, 5mg chol. *note: as the fat percentage increases, the amount of calories will increase as well.

Lactaid: For those who are lactose intolerant, which means they have trouble digesting lactose due to limited or no lactase (the enzyme in our bodies that breaks down lactose, which is the sugar found in milk), lactose-free milks are now available.

Stats: 90 cal, 0g fat (0g sat fat), 8 g protein, <5mg chol.

Soy Milk: Being made from soybeans, this is perhaps the next-largest market of milk out there.  It also has nearly the amount of protein found in regular milk, which makes it a great option.  Soy milk, the largest brand of which is Silk, comes in a variety of flavors, including Vanilla.  This is a great option if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol–try the Vanilla flavor on your morning cereal or oatmeal!

Stats: 60 cal, 1.5g fat (0g sat fat), 6 g protein, 0mg chol.

Coconut Milk: Another popular non-dairy option is coconut milk, fortified with Vitamin B12.  Both it and soy milk are somewhat think, which makes it a great addition to a fruit smoothie. Be sure to see that the fat in coconut milk is actually SATURATED, something not often found in non-animal products.  Enjoy in moderation.

Stats: 80 cal, 5g fat (5g sat fat), 1 g protein, 0mg chol.

Almond Milk:  This is a lower calorie option and its consistency is more like actual milk. Unfortunately, some fiber and protein are lost during processing, but it is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.

Stats: 60 cal, 2.5g fat (0g sat fat), 1 g protein, 0mg chol.

Rice Milk:  Rice milk is a much less prevalent option, but still easy to find in shelf-stable packaging.  It’s a bit watery, but it’s free of nuts, soy and dairy, which makes it a great option for those dealing with allergy issues.  It has double the amount of carbohydrate than regular milk and is low in protein and fiber, so be sure to see other protein sources should you replace regular milk with rice milk.

Stats: 120 cal, 2.5g fat (.0g sat fat), 1 g protein, 0mg chol.

Goat’s Milk: On the upside, goat’s milk can be easier to digest than regular milk and it’s high in phosphorus and zinc.  However, it has a distinct tangy flavor, is high in saturated fat and can be expensive.

Stats: 168 cal, 10g fat (6.5g sat fat), 9 g protein, 27mg chol.

*note: Cholesterol will only be found in milk from animal products, so those wanting to lower their cholesterol may choose to increase their ‘alternative’ milk intake, but still enjoy regular milk in smaller amounts.


Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician.  She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.

*note: all nutritional stats are per 1 cup