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Gluten-Free Non-Dairy Alternatives


A “Thrill of the Choice” segment sponsored by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager

Many individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity also follow a lactose-free or casein-free diet. Others simply like to experiment with non-dairy alternatives. Which one is best for you? Here’s a quick overview to help you decide:

*Note: Nutritional values based on Taste the Dream products.

Rice Milk

Gluten-Free Rice MilkOverview: Made from partially milled brown rice, this is an allergen-friendly option that’s low in fat and often comes in a variety of flavors.

Nutrition: 120 calories and 2.5g of fat per serving (Original flavor). 10g of sugar and only 1g of protein for Original; expect higher sugar content and calorie counts among flavored options.

Flavor: The consistency isn’t as creamy as regular milk, and some find the texture a bit gritty. Despite that, the variety of flavors and wide applicability to special diets make it a popular option.

Good for: Gluten-free cereal, chocolate milk, milkshakes, coffee (flavor creamer)

Soy Milk

Gluten-Free Soy MilkOverview: Made from whole soybeans, this is a protein powerhouse and a great source of iron. Not intended for those who are soy-free.

Nutrition: 130 calories and 4g of fat per serving (Original flavor). 7g of protein. 40% of daily recommended iron, 15% of daily recommended magnesium, and 15% of daily recommended copper.

Flavor: Higher fat content makes this a creamy alternative, but there’s an earthy undertone that sets it apart from cow’s milk.

Good for: Lattes, gluten-free macaroni and cheese, gluten-free cake

Almond Milk

Gluten-Free Almond MilkOverview: Made from almonds, this is very low in calorie but proportionally high in fat. Loaded with Vitamin B12 and tasty to boot.

Nutrition: 50 calories and 2.5g of fat per serving (Original flavor). Only 1g of protein and 2% of daily recommended iron, but contains 50% of daily recommended amount of Vitamin B12 and 15% of phosphorus.

Flavor: This is another creamy option with a very smooth texture similar to dairy milk. It tastes sweeter than soy milk and is creamier than rice milk.

Good for: Homemade ice cream, gluten-free bread pudding, gluten-free mashed potatoes

Coconut  Milk

Gluten-Free Coconut MilkOverview: Made from coconut cream, this is high in fat and a rising alternative among dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free cooks.

Nutrition: 80 calories and 5g of fat per serving. Fat content is all saturated fat, so use in moderation. A good source of calcium and Vitamins A, D and B12, when enriched.

Flavor: High fat content gives coconut milk a luxurious texture and an indulgent flavor that doesn’t actually taste “coconut-y.”

Good for: Curry, pudding, fudge

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