Is Almond Milk Good For You? The Verdict
Almond milk is a nutritious and healthy choice if you’re looking for a plant-based alternative to dairy or simply want some variety in your diet. Made from ground almonds mixed with water, almond milk is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium and dietary fibre. It’s also full of plant sterols, making it a heart-healthy option. The short answer is almond milk CAN be a healthy milk alternative. However, there’s more to the story.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Drinking Almond Milk
So, should you drink almond milk? Well, depending on your preferences, tolerance to dairy and nutritional needs, almond milk may be a good alternative. While there are some benefits to enjoying this nutty drink, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Let's explore both of these in detail.
Benefits of Almond Milk
- Lactose-free: Almond milk is naturally lactose-free, making it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance or sensitivity.
- Vegan-friendly: Almond milk is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians and doesn't contribute to animal suffering.
- High in antioxidants: Almond milk is also naturally high in vitamin E and protective phytochemicals. Specific polyphenols such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenols are found in almonds and almond milk, which offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Quality control: When you make your own nut milk, you're in complete control of the ingredients, texture and flavour. Plus, buying raw almonds in bulk can save you money in the long run.
Drawbacks of Almond Milk
- Not a straight swap-out for dairy: Cow's milk and plant-based milk differ significantly in nutrition. Cow's milk is higher in protein, fat and minerals, essential for growth and development. Almond milk is devoid of some important macronutrients that are usually found in cow’s milk.
- May impair growth in children: A recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that non-cow milk consumption was associated with a lower childhood height. Take this into consideration when choosing healthy foods for kids.
- Added ingredients: some commercially made almond milk have emulsifiers, gums, sweeteners, and water to enhance palatability and shelf life.
- High 'water footprint': Almond milk production requires a significant amount of water, resulting in a higher "water footprint" than cow's milk.
How to Make Almond Milk at Home
Making your own almond milk may seem daunting, but it's actually quite simple. Not only can you control the ingredients and avoid additives found in store-bought brands, but you also save money in the long run. All you need are raw almonds, water, and a blender.
Plus, for the most nutritious almond milk, make sure to blend the soaked almonds for a fresh, creamy, velvety nut milk ready to go! Nothing wasted! Here's a simple recipe to get you started:
- Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in water overnight.
- Drain and rinse the almonds, then add them to a blender with 3 cups of water.
- Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- For a more liquid almond milk, strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth into a large bowl or jar. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- For creamy almond milk, skip the straining step and enjoy.
- Optional: add a pinch of sea salt, vanilla extract or sweetener of your choice for extra flavour.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days and shake well before using.
Delightful Ways To Use Almond Milk
Now that we've covered the benefits of almond milk let's get to the fun part - using it in recipes! Here are a few ideas for inspiration:
- Smoothies: Replace dairy milk with almond milk for a creamy base in your favourite smoothie recipe. You can also experiment with different combinations, like adding cocoa powder, honey or matcha for an extra nutrient boost.
- Porridge: Use almond milk instead of water or dairy milk for a rich and nutty flavour in your morning porridge or muesli.
- Pancakes and Waffles: Substitute almond milk for regular milk in pancake or waffle batter for a light and fluffy texture.
- Curries: Add almond milk to your favourite curry recipe for a creamy and dairy-free option.
- Mashed Potatoes: Replace the traditional cream or butter with almond milk in mashed potatoes for a healthier twist.
- Ice Cream: Use almond milk as a base for homemade ice cream, adding your favourite flavours and mix-ins.
Switch Up Your Milk Routine With Homemade Almond Milk
Now that we’ve answered the question: ‘Is almond milk good for you?’, it’s time to switch up your milk game. Almond milk is definitely worth trying. With its creamy texture, nutty flavour, and numerous health benefits, it's no wonder this alternative milk has gained so much popularity. Whether you choose to make your own or opt for store-bought brands, incorporating almond milk into your diet can have many positive effects on your overall health and well-being. So go ahead and give it a try. Get yourself some almonds and start making your own delicious almond milk today.
The Best Almond Milk Recipes
Here are some delicious almond milk recipes to try at home. If you've never experimented with nut milk in your cooking before, now's the perfect opportunity to give it a go. Enjoy these dairy-free and nutritious sweet and savoury delights that celebrate the versatility of almond milk.
'Paris Mash' Creamy Mashed Potatoes
If you like velvety smooth mashed potatoes with a hint of nuttiness, this Parisian-style mashed potatoes (or Paris Mash) almond milk recipe is for you. Here's how to whip it up:
- 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup of homemade almond milk
- 4 tablespoons of vegan butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh chives for garnish (optional)
- Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot, and add enough water to cover them.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the potatoes to simmer until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and return them to the pot.
- Add the almond milk and vegan butter to the pot with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a hand mixer until they are smooth and creamy. If the potatoes are too thick, add more almond milk until you achieve your desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve the Paris Mash hot, garnished with a sprinkle of fresh chives if desired. This creamy and nutty side dish is perfect to serve with your favourite main course.
Almond Milk Waffles with Fresh Berries and Whipped Coconut Cream
These waffles with the fruity zing of fresh berries and indulgent whipped coconut cream, are not just delicious but also easy to make. Here's how to do it:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed fresh berries
- 1 cup chilled full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- Preheat your waffle iron.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- In another bowl, whisk together the almond milk, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
- Cook the waffle batter in your preheated waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- While the waffles are cooking, prepare the whipped coconut cream. Scoop out the solid part of the chilled coconut milk and whisk it together with the icing sugar until fluffy.
- Serve the hot waffles with a generous dollop of whipped coconut cream and a scattering of fresh berries.
Cherry Banana Almond Milk Smoothie
You can't go wrong with this delicious, nutritious and vibrant smoothie that combines the sweetness of cherries and bananas with the nuttiness of almond milk. Here's how to blend up this refreshing treat:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup of frozen cherries
- 1 cup of homemade almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
- A handful of ice cubes
- Peel and slice the banana into chunks.
- Add the banana chunks, frozen cherries, almond milk, honey (if using), and ice cubes to your blender.
- Blend on high until the ingredients are well combined, and the texture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy immediately. It's a wonderful way to stay refreshed, and it's packed with nutrients.
Vegan Almond Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
If you are looking for a sweet treat that is dairy-free and bursting with the smooth richness of chocolate, this homemade vegan almond milk ice cream is just the ticket. Here's how to make a batch of this heavenly dessert:
- 2 cups of homemade almond milk
- 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup of coconut sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of vegan dark chocolate chips
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the almond milk, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, and salt.
- Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat while stirring frequently. Continue simmering until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is well combined.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- In the last few minutes of churning, add the vegan dark chocolate chips to the ice cream maker so they can be evenly distributed throughout the ice cream.
- Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up before serving.
- Scoop out the vegan almond milk chocolate ice cream into bowls or cones and enjoy this lusciously creamy and dairy-free treat perfect for a hot day or whenever the chocolate craving strikes!
Vegetarian Chickpea Curry with Almonds
This creamy, aromatic vegetarian curry combines a medley of fresh vegetables, fragrant spices, and almond milk to create a satisfying and dairy-free meal. Here's how to make it:
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons of your preferred curry powder
- Assorted vegetables (e.g. zucchini, broccoli, and carrot), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup of homemade almond milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh coriander and roasted almonds for garnish
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and curry powder to the pan. Stir well to coat the onions with the spices.
- Add the assorted vegetables and chickpeas, continuing to stir so they are well coated in the spice mixture.
- Pour in the almond milk and stir well, making sure all the ingredients are combined. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and roasted almonds before serving. Enjoy this delicious vegetarian curry with a side of fluffy basmati rice or warm naan bread.
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