Plant milk: here's how to put it on the menu

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Louise Hay

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An authoritative Irish study published in the scientific journal Plant Food for Human Nutrition compared the different kinds of vegetable drinks with cow's milk. The result? Completely replacing the latter with plant products can prove to be a serious mistake.

«Although after weaning milk is no longer essential, because with an adequate diet all its nutrients are taken even more effectively, the total replacement with vegetable drinks exposes you to the risk of important nutritional deficiencies»Warns the doctor Federica Piccolino, a nutrition biologist in Rome. “Many of them, in fact, can turn out unbalanced in protein or carbohydrate content, with added sugars and fats that are not always of optimal quality, because they are added with vegetable oils. Even the quantity of minerals and vitamins may not be adequate, especially in particular situations such as development or menopause, when the need for various nutrients increases ».

In some cases, instead, replacing cow's milk with vegetable drinks is a must. «They are the alternative for the vegetarian and vegan breakfast, but also for those (especially children) you are allergic to cow's milk proteins and does not want to use hydrolyzed milk, a special milk sold in pharmacies in which proteins are fragmented to reduce the possibility of triggering allergies, but with a high cost and an unpleasant taste ", says the doctor Sara Gilardi, nutritionist biologist.

In the case of lactose intolerant, however, the renunciation of cow's milk must always be decided by a doctor. "Unless it is a serious intolerance, the advice is to reduce consumption but not eliminate it altogether, because the risk is to make the problem worse ».

E those suffering from hypercholesterolemia? «You can use skim milk and alternate it with vegetable drinks. Several studies have shown that soy and oats are even capable of reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol Ldl»Concludes Gilardi.


Here is a example of daily menu by the nutritionist biologist Sara Gilardi. Which warns: «When you follow him, you must, however completely eliminate cow's milk from your diet».


1 slice of toasted wholemeal bread with homemade jam + 1 cup of almond milk fortified with vitamin D + 7-8 hazelnuts or 10 natural pistachios


1 citrus juice


70 g of wholemeal pasta with sautéed seasonal vegetables and 1 sprinkling of chopped sesame seeds + 100 g of grilled chicken breast with spinach salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil


1 cup of soy mousse with fresh fruit salad to alternate with 1 cup of rice mousse with fresh berries


Cold legume soup with whole grains + 1 plate of sour chicory + 1 banana


1. Prefer them natural

«Even in the case of vegetable drinks, the best are those that have the shorter ingredient list»Advises Dr. Sara Gilardi. «They often come added sweeteners of various types, such as fructose and glucose, salt and flavors to make them more palatable. The beverages derived from cereals also always contain oils that serve to improve the consistency of the product: choose packages that have only that of cold-pressed sunflower, which helps to reduce the glycemic load of the drink ».

2. Go for the fortified ones

"Especially if you completely replace cow's milk with vegetable drinks, focus on those fortified with calcium and vitamins, in particular B12 and D. Which should also be taken with other foods such as for example tofu, legumes, nuts and eggs», Suggests the nutritionist again.

3. Focus on organic

«It does not guarantee you the total absence of GMOs (unless it is expressly written on the product packaging), but ensures you raw materials without pesticides, often present in dried fruit and cereals ”, explains Gilardi.

4. Look at the percentages

«Check the content of the main ingredient, such as almonds or rice. To really benefit from the properties of nuts and grains, you need one percentage not less than 15-20%», Concludes the nutritionist biologist.

  • READ ALSO: Plant milks: how to choose them and when to avoid them

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