Almond milk is America's favorite plant-based milk. It's a $738 million business, far outselling soy as a non-dairy milk alternative. But it requires 23 gallons of water to produce just a single ounce of the tiny nuts, a concern that's been raised as California, where much of the almonds in the U.S. are grown, suffers a devastating drought.
Though almonds aren't remotely to blame for California's drought, it never hurts to be smart about water usage. Fortunately, there are easy ways to cut back on consumption and save the little gems for times when its health powers and taste really count. Milk is a great place to start, since other non-dairy milks have comparable taste and nutrition to almond's.
Check out eight possible swaps below:
So Delicious Dairy Free
Coconut milk is sweet and creamy. Thanks to its higher content of healthy fat, it's a bit thicker than other dairy alternatives. It has a minimal nutty flavor compared to other nut milks, and makes a stellar coffee creamer.Nutrition:
70 cals, 4.5g fat, 6g sugars, 0g protein per cup
Source: So Delicious Dairy Free
Soy milk tends to have a rich, chalky taste and texture, unlike other milks, and trumps non-dairy milks in the protein department. It contains 11 grams of the stuff -- more than the 8 grams found in skim milk. Nutrition:
130 cals, 4g fat, 7g sugars, 11g protein per cup.
Source: Eden Foods
Good Karma Foods
Flax milk is special because it's got a ton of omega 3, a heart healthy nutrient. Its texture is a little thin, and its taste a teensy bit sweet. Nutrition:
50 cals, 2.5g fat, 7g sugars, 0g protein per cup.
Source: Good Karma Foods
Rice milk tastes much different than nut milks. It is closer in taste to regular dairy milk, though it tends to be a bit more watery.Nutrition:
120 cals, 2.5g fat, 10g sugars, 1g protein per cup.
Source: Rice Dream
Sadly, not like Nutella. It does have a hint of hazelnut flavor and its texture is similar to almond milk's. Nutrition:
110 cals, 3.5g fat, 14g sugars, 2g protein per cup.
Source: Pacific Foods
Don't be confused: Hemp milk is made from the hemp seed, nothing else. It tends to be on the watery side with a nutty flavor. Nutrition:
140 cals, 5g fat, 14g sugars, 3g protein per cup.
Quinoa milk might be harder to find than other dairy alternatives, but it's becoming increasingly trendy, so chances are you'll spot it sooner than the time it takes you to properly pronounce "quinoa." (Also, if you're desperate, you can make it at home.) The taste is a little weak. Those accustomed to almond milk probably wouldn't want to drink a glass of this, but it would be innocuous mixed in a recipe. Nutrition:
100 cals, 15 fat, 10g sugars, 2g protein per cup.
Source: Lucky Vitamin
*Note: This milk is the only one on the list that is flavored. "Original" offerings of dairy-free milk tend to have added sugars and more calories than "unsweetened." Suzie's Vanilla Quinoa was chosen in the sake of fair comparison.
Cashew milk is similar to almond milk in taste, if a little creamier. It's sweet and has a minimal nutty flavor compared to other nut milks.Nutrition:
60 cals, 2.5g fat, 7g sugars, less than 1g protein per cup.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated that there are 15g of fat per serving of quinoa milk. It has been updated to reflect the correct number, which is 1g of fat per serving.