There are so many types of milk alternatives parents can choose from for their children, ranged from soy milk to almond milk. But why do they need alternative milk? Or why do you need to know what are alternative milk options your children need later?
Usually, doctors suggest parents give alternative milk for toddlers with special health conditions. It is either they have milk allergies or are lactose intolerant. This health condition may result in digestive system problems. So, there is no other choice other than to give alternative milk to their children as they still need the nutrition to grow up.
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Several Things That Makes Milk Allergies
So why are several toddlers allergic to milk? Is there any nutrition in milk that makes us allergic? Actually, there are several things make milk allergies. The explanation below will help you to understand the science behind milk allergies that may happen to us.
- Variety of Allergens
The first cause of milk allergies in children is the variety of allergens contained in the cow’s milk. In a simple explanation, the nutrition of cow’s milk is divided into casein and whey. And the alpha and beta-lactoglobulins are the nutrition found in the whey components. Those lactoglobulins are the main cause of milk allergies for children. Meanwhile, casein tends to makes allergies in adults.
- Immune Reaction
Some toddlers are predisposed to allergic diseases so that their bodies have an immune reaction against various allergens. Every time they eat or drink milk and dairy products, the immune reaction will release allergic antibodies and that is how milk allergic symptoms happen.
Alternative Milk Options
A child with a milk allergy does not have any choice other than to avoid milk and other dairy products. But as we know children need to drink milk for various good reasons. That is why doctors suggest if your children are allergic to milk or are lactose intolerant, you should give them alternative milk. What alternative milk options are available for you?
- Almond Milk
The first alternative milk you can choose from is almond milk. The ingredients of this milk are mainly almonds and water. As the product price is quite expensive if you choose this as a milk alternative for your child you better make it by yourself.
- Coconut Milk
This alternative milk is very popular in India. Many toddlers with milk allergy are given coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. The source of the milk is matured coconuts that are grated and pulped, so there is no milk protein in it. But it is rich in plant proteins, vitamins, and even calcium.
Read also : Breastfeeding Tips for New Mom
- Hemp Milk
As an alternative to milk, you can choose to give hemp milk too. Hemp milk is also known as plant milk. It is made from a variety of plant seeds that are soaked and ground in water. Interestingly, the result of the process resembles milk color and texture perfectly. On top of that, the price is a lot cheaper than almond milk.
- Rice Milk
This type of alternative milk is also very popular. It is derived from the grains of rice and is easy to make. So many people in Asia especially, already give this rice milk to their children who suffer from milk allergy. It is really safe and the chance of children developing an allergy to it is very low.
- Soy Milk
If you want to choose the most popular of many alternatives to milk available, then soy milk is what you are looking for. This milk is obtained from soybeans that are soaked and ground in water just like hemp milk. But soy milk is believed to be the best-tasting milk alternative and that is what makes it popular.
Alternative Milk Comparison
When you need to decide the best alternative milk for your children, you need to compare them one by one. What are some factors you should keep in mind while comparing them? The following list will help you out.
- The Nutritional Requirement
Choosing the best alternative milk for your children should match nutritional requirements based on the children’s age. For example, different nutrients required at different ages for children are protein, vitamins, and minerals. As children ages increase, the requirement of those nutrients also increases. And as we know, all of them can be found in the milk the children drink. So as your children grow, you may need to change the alternative milk they should drink to match what their body need.
- The Diet of Children
This factor is also important in choosing alternative milk for children. Even though there is no standard children’s diet in the world, we all know they need to eat well to grow up well. Milk is a must-eat until the age of 5. That is why you need to find alternative milk which is the best substitute for cow’s milk.
- Price and Other Financial Factors
Next, you need to compare the prices. Some milk alternatives have higher prices than the milk itself. That is why you need to keep your financial condition in mind while choosing the best. Higher prices do not always guarantee better results as every child has different conditions. So do not always settle just because it is more expensive than others!
Which Milk Alternative Tastes Most Like Milk?
Aside from several factors mentioned above, we tend to choose the milk alternative that tastes most like milk. Well, actually there are no alternatives to milk that exactly tastes like milk. That is why we have to choose the most similar to cow’s milk from the color, the texture, and also the taste.
So far, soy milk is the most similar alternative milk to cow’s milk. That is the reason behind its popularity in the milk alternatives market. As everyone already agrees, soy milk has a creamy texture and mild taste. The soybeans used to make it is not obvious at all. And overall soy milk is unsweetened so it is tasty enough.
Read also : The Importance of Baby Feeding Time and Schedule
Which Milk Substitute is Healthiest?
Eventually, soy milk is also the healthiest milk substitute available. As it has high protein, soy milk is nutritionally closer to cow’s milk. So mostly, drinking soy milk may help you to strengthen your child’s bone and teeth.
Besides that, as soy milk has low fat, drinking it will help you to maintain your children’s weight and lower the risk of child obesity. More than that, for toddlers with a sensitive digestive system, soy milk may prevent several diseases. Soy milk is indeed the healthiest option available for you!
What Milk Alternative Lasts the Longest?
If you have already chosen what alternative milk you will get for your children, you need to be extra careful about the expiration process. Every milk alternative has a different lasting time. If it is still unopened then you may drink it until the expiration date written on the packaging.
But after being opened, the lasting time differed. The longest-lasting milk alternative is rice milk. It lasts for at least a half year in the refrigerator. For other milk alternatives, it lasts only for a week after being opened.
Now, it is easier to choose the best alternative milk for toddlers right? After this, you do not have to face children who suffer because of milk allergy anymore. And yet, they still have all the nutrition they need to grow up.