Another alternative to cow’s milk that is readily available in the Philippines is coconut milk. Coconuts can produce coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Each has their own consistency and nutrient content. Coconut milk and cream are popular in dishes like curries and desserts, as well as a dairy substitute in recipes.
Coconut milk has a unique and subtle sweetness without added sugar. Because coconut is a fruit, it does not contain as much protein as animal products like dairy milk. However, coconut milk is not always one of the healthier milk substitutes. While dairy products are available in skim, low-fat, or full-fat varieties, coconut milk is rich in fat—and not the good kind (saturated fat).
The downside of coconut milk is that it is calorie-dense and contains high amounts of saturated fat. Coconut milk and oils are suitable for special diets (e.g. ketogenic diet, vegan diet); however, it may not be good as a milk substitute on a daily basis. If you are trying to watch your fat and calorie intake, use coconut milk in moderation.
In summary, some milk substitutes are healthier than dairy milk. While milk is nutritious, not everyone can drink it. Each milk substitute has its pros and cons. Do not give an infant milk substitutes unless directed by your pediatrician. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure whether or not you should avoid dairy.
Learn more about Healthy Eating here.