Cow’s milk and dairy are commonly consumed in the human diet and contribute to maintaining a healthy nutritional state by providing sources of energy, calcium, protein, and vitamins, especially during early childhood. In India, milk is one of the first foods introduced into an infant’s diet when breastfeeding is either not possible or insufficient to cover nutritional needs. Even though many kids suffer from protein allergies and lactose intolerance, it is heretical for a large population to think that cow’s milk could not be suitable for children. This approach towards early diet is increasingly changing and higher preference is being given to vegan dietary habits. The great part is that there are so many substitutes instead of dairy milk, that parents have an option for kids above 5 years old to choose vegan milk instead of cow’s milk. Plant-based options are a boon to those who want to choose a vegan diet for their children, especially when these milks are fortified with the necessary calcium, protein, vitamins, and mineral components. As long as these milks address the nutritional requirements of children, they are safe for them to drink. There is a strong need to promote awareness about qualitative and quantitative nutritional compositions of different milks, in order to guide parents and medical providers in selecting the best option for children.
Over the last decade, the consumption of cow’s milk has progressively decreased along with increased availability and consumption of plant-based beverages like Only earth’s oat milk and coconut milk. These are derived from plants and are fortified with necessary nutrients to be an appropriate nutritional choice by most consumers. Let us spotlight two of Only Earth’s milks for a deep dive into their advantages.
Coconut milk plays an important role in Indian and southeast Asian cuisine, both as a drink and ingredient used in different recipes. It is used quite often as a thickener to make a full-bodied dish or to add flavour to a recipe. This milk has sufficient content of fat for high energy. This milk has low levels of trans fats and there are ample proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. It also has micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, with a good amount of vitamin E and C. The milk, when taken in appropriate proportion is good for cerebral growth, immune system stimulation, and vessel elasticity upkeep.
Oat drink contains fewer fats and proteins, but a better amino acid profile than other beverages. Oat is popular as a cereal for the presence of fiber, phytochemicals (antioxidants and polyphenols), and its high nutritional level. Beta-glucan, a soluble fiber with the ability to increase the solution viscosity, can delay gastric emptying time, which increases gastrointestinal transit time, thereby reducing blood glucose and cholesterol (total cholesterol and LDL) levels. On the other hand, oat contains a significant amount of phytic acid, an antinutrient (which interferes with some nutrients uptake), and a lack of calcium, for which this beverage needs to be fortified. Only Earth has fortified its milk with calcium and is great in taste and health.
Both these milks are suitable for kids above 5 years old. Every individual needs a different nutritional intake and it is best to discuss adding vegan milk to the diet of your child, with the help of a nutritionist.