Low-Calorie Milk Options: Almond, Cashew, Coconut, Soy & Dairy

Jun 22 2016
Question@2x Dear Hungry Girl,

Many of your recipes call for unsweetened almond milk. I don't like the taste of almonds... What can I use instead?

Searching for Substitutes
Answer@2x Hi Searching,

Unsweetened almond milk has definitely become a mainstay of the Hungry Girl kitchen. But if you don't like the taste or are allergic to it, there are several great alternatives. In HG recipes, these alternatives can be used interchangeably with unsweetened almond milk -- the conversion is one to one. The recipe's nutritional stats may vary, but more on that below. Here's everything you need to know about almond milk and more...

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 cup: 35 calories, 2.5g fat (0g sat fat), 180mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0.5g fiber, <0.5g sugars, 1g protein -- SmartPoints® value 1*

There are a few reasons why this is our go-to milk. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is low in calories and sugar, which means it's low in SmartPoints®. It also tastes delicious -- mild and creamy (and not at all like almonds!). And it's really versatile: Use it in everything from oatmeal to smoothies to baked desserts. And for savory recipes, just get the plain Original flavor. Favorite brands: Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and Silk; both come refrigerated or shelf-stable. That said, here are the top swaps for almond milk avoiders...

Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk

1 cup: 30 calories, 2.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 140mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, <1g protein -- SmartPoints® value 1*

Cashew milk is a new favorite at Hungryland -- super tasty and even creamier than almond milk. It isn't overly nutty tasting either, so it's still really versatile. If you don't like almond milk, make cashew milk the first stop on your swap-searching journey. It'll barely affect the recipe stats. Top brands: So Delicious and Silk; both shelf-stable. (Blue Diamond makes an amazing almond-cashew blend.)

Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1 cup: 45 calories, 4g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 18mg sodium, 1.5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein -- SmartPoints® value 2*

Don't confuse this with coconut water or the thick sweet stuff that comes in a can! This drink is similar to almond milk -- find it in shelf-stable or refrigerated cartons. It's not quite as versatile as the others, since it has a slight coconut flavor. And it will increase the calories and fat of your recipe by a bit. But it's definitely worth checking out... It's my number-one pick for those with nut allergies. Brand picks: Silk and So Delicious.

Light Vanilla Soymilk

1 cup: 75 calories, 1.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 100mg sodium, 8g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 6g protein -- SmartPoints® value 2*

Now we're getting into higher-cal territory, but soymilk has some advantages. It's a supermarket staple (fridge section), and it has more protein -- and often more calcium -- than other nondairy milk options. The flavor isn't quite as mild as the others, but it's nice and creamy. Silk and 8th Continent are my brand suggestions.

Fat-Free Dairy Milk

1 cup: 90 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat fat), 126mg sodium, 13g carbs, 0g fiber, 12.5g sugars, 8g protein -- SmartPoints® value 3*

Okay, this one's not a milk swap: It's the real deal! If only dairy will do, stick with the fat-free kind. It's a good source of protein and contains a lot of calcium. Using it in place of almond milk will have a fairly significant impact on your recipe's stats, but it's still a solid choice. We use it from time to time in recipes, especially savory ones where we don't want any distracting flavors. You may want to add a few drops of vanilla extract if the recipe calls for vanilla almond milk, though.
There you have it... Options galore!

Chew on this:

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.