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Plant-based drinks: what to know before buying it

Plant-based drinks are increasingly an option. The famous cow’s milk has been losing its place in the purchase of consumer goods by society.

A study published by Mintel states that:

“(…) non-dairy milk sales have seen steady growth over the past five years, growing an impressive 61 percent since 2012, and are estimated to reach $2.11 billion in 2017.”

Consequently, its growing demand led to an increase in the supply of these drinks, an increasingly wide and diversified supply.

But what are really these drinks and what are the most popular?

What are plant-based/vegetal beverages?

vegetable drinks

Vegetable beverages (also known as milks) are produced through crushed vegetable foods to which water is subsequently added.

Attention! The products we acquire in supermarkets or elsewhere do not have only these ingredients! So, be aware when choosing your vegetable drink.

Similarly, to cow’s milk, these beverages can be consumed fresh, heated, in shakes, along with cereals, added to recipes…the options are several.

Although these beverages have a similar aspect of cow’s milk, their nutritional composition is completely different.

Key Features

  • Plant-based Proteín

The protein of these beverages is of vegetal origin, unlike cow’s milk, which has protein of animal origin.

This way, they are an excellent option for people who prefer in their diet foods of vegetable origin, such as vegans.

Find out more about proteins of plant origin in this article.

“Most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, the major carbohydrate in milk and the main source of nutrition until weaning. Approximately 75% of the world’s population loses this ability at some point, while others can digest lactose into adulthood.”

Therefore, these beverages, being lactose-free, can be an asset especially for people with lactose intolerance or with restrictions on the consumption of cow’s milk protein

  • High fiber content

They contain a high fiber content – especially when compared to cow’s milk – which assists the proper functioning of the digestive system, in addition to prolong satiety.

  • Flavour Variety

Its variety of flavour, due to the diversity of resources of these beverages, is also a point in favor.

Most common vegetable beverages:

The most common vegetable drinks are: Rice drink, oat drink, almond drink, soy drink, spelt drink, cashew drink and coconut drink.

Choosing Vegetable Beverages: What you should take into account

checklist

When choosing the vegetable beverage, there are certain aspects that you should consider:

  • Ingredients

To be aware of the list of ingredients of all the products we consume is essential to know the product, to assess its quality and to determine whether it corresponds to our nutritional needs.

With the vegetable drinks that’s no exception. If possible, choose beverages containing only the main product (cereals, fatty fruits, and/or legumes), water and salt.

  • Nutritional information

Check that the beverage does not contain a high amount of sugars, when they are not derived from cereal, fat and/or legumes.

It means: no added sugars.

You should also have a special attention to fats, especially those saturated, which, in excess, can harm your health.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the best type of fat you can include in your diet and can positively influence your overall well-being and various systems of your body.

  • Type of beverage:

You should give preference to simple beverages, without the addition of cocoa/chocolate or aromas (flavourings), such as vanilla, so that they are as natural as possible.

If these drinks are not yet part of your day-to-day and you want to try them or if you want recipes ideas that include these drinks, check out the recipe I prepared for you.

Recipe with vegetable drink

almond

To start your day with energy – especially if you are training after- I prepared a very nutritious, simple and tasty recipe!

Oatmeal with almond drink

Ingredients:

– 4 tablespoons of Zumub oat flakes

– 1 dessertspoon of Zumub chia seeds

– 200ml of almond beverage without added sugars

– 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder from Zumub

Preparation:

Place the oat flakes, chia seeds and almond drink in a blender.

Put the cocoa powder and mix.

Leave the mixture in a bowl in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, just take the microwave for 45 seconds and enjoy.

You can place a piece of fruit like a banana or even some laminated almonds as a topping.

Conclusion

It is a fact that the consumption of vegetable beverages is increasing, as you could see from Mintel’s study.

This consumption may be due to health issues or individual choices.

For lactose intolerant people or people with some restriction on the consumption of dairy products, vegetable beverages may be an option when properly inserted into the diet.

However, its use is not restricted to lactose intolerant people.

They may also be the right option for people who follow diets that do not include animal resources.

Its use can be a matter of personal taste.

Therefore, as you see, there is a variety of options for its use.

Although in this article you have seen an example of a recipe for oatmeal with vegetable beverage, vegetable beverages can also be consumed simply, mixed with coffee or added to recipes or cakes.

To get the most out of the properties of these beverages, when you buy a vegetable drink take into account the following aspects:

  • Pay attention to the list of ingredients;
  • Opt for beverages with only one main ingredient and water;
  • Value beverages enriched in vitamins and minerals;
  • Opt for the most natural beverages possible.

Try the recipe and share with us the final result!

Comments

The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Ângela Ferreira

Ângela Ferreira
Ângela Ferreira is a nutritionist. She has a degree in Nutrition Sciences and she is doing a Master's degree in Consumer Sciences and Nutrition. She currently works in Sports Nutrition and Clinic Nutrition. Her goal is to actively participate in changing the population's eating habits and to demonstrate that healthy eating can be simple and practical.

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