Eat Smart · Nutrition

Got Milk?

The dining halls at SU make it as easy as possible for students with different dietary needs. Most offer vegetarian, vegan, and even some gluten-free options. Even if you do not follow any of these diets, it’s good to know a bit about what is out there.

When it comes to different kinds of milk, many questions come up about which to choose. With so many confusing advertisements and “testimonials,” the choices in the dining hall can seem even harder to decide on. Here’s the real breakdown of what each kind of milk has to offer.

Dairy Milk:

Fat: When it comes to whole, 1 percent, 2 percent, or fat free milk, the difference is the amount of fat in milk by weight. If you are watching your weight, the less fat option is better. Most of the time, it also depends on what you have grown up with and have a taste for.

Nutrients: Dairy milk is pasteurized and fortified before it reaches the fridges in grocery stores. Pasteurizing it kills harmful bacteria, while fortifying it adds Vitamin D and A. It also has about 30 percent of your daily calcium per cup.

Protein: In a one-cup serving of dairy milk, there are 8 grams of protein. This makes it a great post-workout drink to repair and grow your muscles.

Almond/Nut Milks:

Nut milks are made from blending nuts with water and separating the “pulp” from the liquid.

In fortified* unsweetened, original almond milk…

  • There are 30 calories per cup. However, 20 of the 30 calories are from fat.
  • There are 2.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat. These numbers are much lower than dairy milk.
  • There is only 1 gram of protein per cup.
  • There is 45 percent of your daily calcium, 10 percent of daily Vitamin A, and 25 percent of daily Vitamin D.

Soy Milk:

Soy milk is made the same way as nut milks, just with soybeans instead.

In fortified* regular soy milk…

  • There are about 110 calories per cup.
  • There are roughly 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving.
  • 45 percent of daily calcium and 30 percent of daily Vitamin D.
  • No cholesterol – one of the most important factors of soy milk.

Different milks offer different benefits, depending on whether you need more protein or more vitamins in your diet. When choosing the right milk for you, consider what you want to get out of your food. After all, if food is medicine, you want to make sure you choose what fits your specific needs, not someone else’s.

*Note: most non-dairy and dairy milks are fortified to add nutrients such as calcium, Vitamins A, B, and D.

By Liz Tosi