Taste Test: Made from ground almonds and filtered water, almond milk has a creamy consistency similar to soy milk and a slight nutty taste that works well in smoothies.
Brownie points: Typically lower in calories than its competitors, "the almonds provide vitamin E, calcium and desirable unsaturated fat," says VanBeber. Since it doesn't curdle at high temperatures, almond milk can replace cow's milk in most recipes.
Turning sour: Like rice milk, this one isn't a protein heavyweight. Choose an unsweetened version to keep sugar in check.
What to Try:
Almond Breeze Unsweetened Chocolate (bluediamond.com)
Per cup: 45 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 2 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate (0 grams sugar)
Pacific Foods Unsweetened Vanilla (pacificfoods.com)
Per cup: 45 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 3 grams carbohydrate (0 grams sugar)
Taste test: Oat milk has a slightly sweet taste and light consistency, which makes it a great alternative to cream.
Brownie points: There's more protein than almond or rice milk, plus a couple grams of fiber to boot. "Some of this is the soluble fiber found in oats, which may reduce cholesterol levels," says Gidus.
Turning Sour: Similar to rice milk, oat milk contains a relatively high amount of natural sugar. So those with blood sugar problems will want to err on the side of caution when it comes to portions.
What to try:
Pacific Foods Plain (pacificfoods.com)
Per cup: 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate (19 grams sugar)
Taste test: Rich and creamy with an unmistakable nutty flavor, hemp milk entered the market in 2006. Make sure to give it a good shake before pouring.
Brownie points: Made from shelled hempseeds, hemp milk has a high naturally occurring omega fat content, which helps maintain a healthy heart, sharp mind and strong bones. It's also one of the few dietary sources of a fat called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which may help ward off inflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis and heart disease. This far-out milk is also free of allergens such as lactose, gluten and oligosaccharides and contains respectable amounts of high-quality protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin E.
Turning sour: If you're looking for a milk-like experience, hemp could be a disappointment because of its unique and distinctive flavor.
What to try:
Manitoba Harvest Original HempBliss (manitobaharvest.com)
Per cup: 110 calories, 7 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate (6 grams sugar)
Living Harvest Original Hempmilk (livingharvest.com)
Per cup: 130 calories, 3 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrate (15 grams sugar)
Matthew Kadey is a Canada-based dietitian, freelance writer and photographer ( mattkadey.com ).