The 3 Healthiest Milk Substitutes for Kids and Adults

by Sarah Drinks and Tonics, RecipesComments: 257

3 best milk substitutesMilk allergy affects approximately 2-5% of children from around the world. Many times “milk allergy” simply masquerades as “pasteurization allergy”, which means that when a switch is made from processed store milk to farm fresh unpasteurized milk, the “milk allergy” suddenly disappears! Why is this? This occurs because pasteurization denatures fragile milk proteins and renders them allergenic. It also destroys lactase, the enzyme necessary for digesting lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk.  A simple switch to fresh from the farm raw milk solves both of these problems. In those rare instances when a child is truly allergic to cow or goat milk – even the farm fresh variety – figuring out the healthiest milk substitute can be a bewildering experience for a concerned parent.

Soy milk, also called soya bean milk, is clearly not a good option as high amounts of isoflavones (plant estrogens) disrupt the hormonal development of young children. Commercial rice milk is high in sugar and low in nutrition with little to no protein or fats to stabilize the blood sugar.   Even store bought almond milk is not a good choice as it is also very low in protein and fat, high in sugar and is not made from almonds that have been properly soaked/dehydrated first to eliminate anti-nutrients such as phytic acid which block mineral absorption and cause digestive distress.

So, what is a Mom or Dad to do?

Fortunately, there are three excellent milk substitutes that are delicious, healthy and easy to make when there are milk allergies in the home or even just when you are traveling or temporarily have no access to farm fresh whole milk.

I hope you enjoy these three healthy milk substitutes for your child that will be both enjoyable and nourishing!   You may even wish to take a sip or two yourself!

*Please note that these milk substitutes are for a child older than one year old. A child younger than one that is not breastfed should be getting a homemade formula and if allergic to milk, a homemade dairy free baby formula is best.

Three Most Nutritious Milk Substitutes

Coconut Milk Tonic Recipe

From Eat Fat, Lose Fat

Makes 1 quart

This drink contains the same amount of calories and calcium as cow’s milk and is high in good fats to stabilize the blood sugar in those active toddlers and children who, without good fats in the diet, will constantly be clamoring for refined carbs.


14 oz whole coconut milk with no additives or make coconut milk yourself

2 TBL Grade B maple syrup (use a pinch of stevia powder for sugar free version) (sources)

1 tsp vanilla extract (sources)

1 tsp dolomite powder (sources)


Mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium to low heat until all the dolomite is dissolved.     Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Traditional Rice Milk Recipe

From Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

Makes 2 quarts

If your child is also allergic to coconut, traditional rice milk works well instead of the sugar laden, nutritionless version from the store.


1/2 cup brown rice (aresenic free sources)

8 cups filtered water

1 tsp sea salt (sources)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or homemade apple cider vinegar (sources)

1/4 cup raw honey (sources)

1 tsp cinnamon (sources)


Cook rice in water, covered, until rice is mushy. This will take several hours. Process rice and liquid together in a food processor or food mill.  Place liquified mixture in a glass jug with salt and lemon juice or cider vinegar.   Cover tightly and leave on the counter for 2-3 days.   Refrigerate.

To serve, blend with honey and cinnamon and dilute with enough filtered water to achieve desired consistency. Note that honey is only suitable for children over 1 year of age.

If you prefer nonfermented beverages, this rice milk recipe made with wild rice uses soaked rice instead of fermentation to render the rice digestible with no slightly sour taste.

Homemade Almond Milk

From Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

Makes 2 quarts

While almond milk from the store is not a good choice, the homemade version is both delicious and nutritious. You can also make this fermented almond milk recipe instead to add additional enzymes and probiotics if you prefer.


2 cups skinless raw almonds (sources)

Filtered water

2 tsp sea salt (sources)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar (sources)

1/8 cup coconut sugar, sucanat or raw honey (sources)

1 tsp vanilla extract (sources)

1 tsp almond extract (sources)


Soak almonds overnight in filtered water and sea salt.    Drain off soaking water and process almonds in a food processor until a smooth paste. In a 2 quart glass jug mix almond paste with other ingredients and enough filtered water to fill the jug. Note that honey is only suitable for children over the age of one.

Cover tightly and leave on the counter for 2 days.

Refrigerate. Stir before serving.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Eat Fat, Lose Fat

Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

Why Almond Milk and Coconut Milk from the Store Should Be Avoided

The Healthy Home Economist holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mother to 3 healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, and many others.

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