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10 Best Non-Dairy Milk Options for Toddlers

As a parent of a food allergic child, finding suitable alternatives to traditional dairy milk can be a challenge. Non-dairy milk options have become increasingly popular in recent years, but not all of them are suitable for toddlers. In this article, we will explore the top 10 best non-dairy milk options for toddlers, taking into consideration their nutritional value, taste, and suitability for children with food allergies. Whether you are looking for a milk alternative for your child's daily meals or just need something for occasional use, this list has got you covered. We hope that this information will help you make informed decisions about your child's diet and keep them healthy and happy.


Does My Toddler Even Need a Milk or Milk Alternative?


It's important to note that milk and milk alternatives are not essential for a toddler's diet. Toddlers can get all the nutrients they need from a varied diet that includes a variety of foods from the different food groups. This can include protein sources such as beans, tofu, eggs, and nuts; grains such as bread, rice, and pasta; fruits and vegetables; and healthy fats from sources such as avocado and olive oil. In addition, most toddlers will also be able to get sufficient calcium from other sources such as leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fortified foods. While milk and milk alternatives can be a convenient and tasty source of nutrients, they are not necessary for a healthy diet and can be replaced with other nutrient-dense foods.


While milk and milk alternatives are not essential for a toddler's diet, they can still provide a variety of benefits. Milk and milk alternatives are a good source of protein, which is important for growth and development. They can also provide important nutrients such as calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. In addition, milk and milk alternatives can be a convenient and tasty way to hydrate, particularly for picky eaters who may not be getting enough fluids from other sources. While it's important to choose options that are appropriate for a toddler's age and dietary needs, they can be a valuable addition to a well-rounded diet.


What Options Do I Have if my Toddler Reacts to Dairy?


Non-dairy milk alternatives have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are now a wide variety of options available for toddlers. In the below table, we have compiled a list of the 10 best non-dairy milk options for toddlers, taking into consideration their nutritional value, taste, and suitability for children with food allergies [1]. The table includes information about the number of calories per 1 cup serving, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals content of each milk alternative. We hope that this information will help you make informed decisions about your child's diet and keep them healthy and happy. It's important to note that the nutritional content of human milk can vary depending on the specific mother's diet and other factors. The nutritional content of each milk alternative may also vary based on the brand and variety, so it's always a good idea to read labels and consult with a healthcare professional before introducing any new foods to your child's diet.

Diving Deeper into the Alternatives


This list may even make you feel like there are TOO MANY options now! We think it is better to have too much information than not enough. Additionally, each kiddo will have their own unique set of food triggers so an alternative that works for one may not work for another.


Human milk: Continuing to breast/body feed past the first year is a great option for many food allergy families and it is no surprise that it tops our list! Human milk can provide additional nutrients and immunological protection for the child, as the composition of our milk changes to meet the changing needs of the child [2].


Families also find breast/body feeding to be incredibly valuable for navigating reactions, hydration, feeding aversions, and more. Human milk can help protect against a variety of illnesses, including respiratory and ear infections, allergies, and certain types of cancer. Nursing and pumping can also have benefits for lactating parents, including a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It's important to note that breast/body feeding is not always possible or desirable for all parents, and there are many other ways to provide proper nutrition and care for a child. Read more about the benefits and drawbacks of elimination diets while nursing a food allergy baby.


Soy milk: This type of milk is made from soybeans and is a good source of protein. Unfortunately, many children who react to cow’s milk also respond to soy due to the similarity in some proteins which make them up [3]. If you suspect your little one may be reactive to soy, don’t miss our piece on soy allergies.


Almond milk: Almond milk is made from ground almonds and is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and calcium.


Oat milk: Oat milk is made from oats and is a good source of fiber and nutrients. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and can be a good option for children who are allergic to soy and/or nuts. Be aware that some oat milk varieties may contain traces of gluten depending on the oat source.


Coconut milk: Coconut milk is made from the flesh of coconuts and has a rich, creamy texture. It is high in fat and therefore is recommended to be used in moderation, but can be a good option for children who are allergic to other types of milk.

Rice milk: Rice milk is made from ground rice and has a slightly sweet, subtle flavor. It is lower in protein and fat than cow's milk while being much higher in carbohydrates.


Hemp milk: Hemp milk is made from ground hemp seeds and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Hemp’s 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid (FA) is nearly ideal [4].


Flax milk: Flax milk is made from ground flaxseeds and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Pea milk: Pea milk is made from yellow peas and is a good source of protein. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.


Quinoa milk: Quinoa milk is made from ground quinoa. Chenopodium quinoa, a pseudocereal from the Andes region of South America, mainly Peru and Bolivia, has been gaining attention worldwide due to its nutritional content and crop tolerance to extreme climatic conditions. It is a rich source of protein (12-16.5%) with protein quality equivalent to that of casein [5].


These may also be homemade from scratch. This has the benefit of avoiding added ingredients which may be a conce