Which Is The Best Plant Based Milk?

Plant-based diets are on the rise with nearly 2.5 million Australians following a vegetarian diet. Swapping to this way of eating can be super exciting but also confusing. With so many new products on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best plant based milk

To make it a little easier for you, I’ve created a little comparison of some of the most popular plant-based milks. You can find most of these at your local woolworths, coles or health food store.

When choosing a plant-based milk, look out for these key nutrients to ensure your milk is a good choice.



Many plant based milks are naturally low in calcium. Calcium is essential for maintaining healthy and strong bones and teeth. When our body doesn’t receive enough calcium from the diet, it uses the calcium stored in the bones to supply the amount needed in the blood. Blood calcium is responsible for muscle contractions – like keeping your heart beating. Overtime this can weaken bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Aim for 120mg of calcium per 100ml.


Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for vegans and one to be considered strongly for vegetarians. It is only found in animal products such as milk, meat and eggs. It is the one nutrient that cannot be found on a vegan diet unless you use fortified (added into) products. You definitely don’t want to be turning a blind eye to this one.

Vitamin B12 is essential for creating red blood cells, producing DNA and forming myelin sheath which coat our nerves. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage. Thats a no thank you from me!

Aim for 1-3 micograms of vitamin B12 per serve (1 cup)!



Iodine is a unique mineral essential for normal growth and brain development. It helps to produce thyroid hormones which are essential for maintaining metabolism, heart rate, kidney function, fertility and bone structure.

Iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid disorder such as goiters. Iodine was traditionally found in cows milk. This was due to iodine-containing feed supplements fed to cows and iodophor sanitizing agents used in cleaning. Today, there is reduced levels of this found in cows milk. We can also find iodine is seaweed, fortified breads, iodised salt and some milks.

The only milk I currently know of which contains iodine is Oatly Oat Milk Barista blend – however, we don’t know how much iodine this contains.


Vitamin D:

Vitamin D works closely with calcium to build strong bones . It also helps calcium be absorbed from the gut, keep the immune system healthy and build strong muscles. We traditionally vitamin D from the sun as the body can synthesis (create) it when exposed to sunlight.

Some other products can contain small amounts of vitamin D such as fish, eggs and UV-exposed mushrooms. In Australia, we are pretty sun-conscious. Many of us work indoors or protect our skin when we’re in the sun. Current research shows that approximately 31% of Aussie’s are vitamin D deficient, meaning this can seriously impact our bone health long term.

Aim for 1-2 micrograms of vitamin D per serve.


Our top picks


1. Like Milk (Pea Protein) by Australia’s Own


This is honestly one of my top picks for plant milks. Australia’s Own Like Milk is made from peas – but doesn’t taste like it! It is still relatively new to the a Australian market and provides a great higher protein plant-milk alternative for people who don’t like soy. Not only does it taste good, but nutritionally it is one of the best plant milk available for vegans


  • It’s fortified with over 100mg of calcium per 100ml – very high which is optimal!
  • It has added vitamin B12 – great for vegans who don’t naturally have this in their diet.
  • It is rich in protein! 1 glass contains 8.3g of protein – essentially on par with soy milk!
  • Its is fortified with additional vitamins – Vitamin A and Vitamin B2.
  • It has added vitamin D to help with calcium absorption
  • It’s gluten free, nut free, soy free and dairy free – great for people with allergies!


  • It’s a touch expensive at $4 per bottle (but trust me so worth it!)


2. Oat Milk by Oatly

This Swedish oat milk is a new addition to the Australian market. It has a super creamy taste and is great for coffee! I am usually a Bonsoy lover in coffee, but hate the fact that Bonsoy has no calcium. I’ve personally found Oatly to be a great replacement for bonsoy that actually has calcium in it.


  • Tastes nice and creamy!
  • Fortified with calcium – at 300mg per cup it provides 38% of the RDI.
  • It is great for allergies as it doesn’t contain any milk, soy, rice or nuts.


  • It can be difficult to find, it’s only available in some Woolworths and cafes.
  • It’s not yet fortified with as many vitamins and minerals as the European version. No Vitamin B12 or vitamin D unfortunately!


3. Soy Milky Light by Vitasoy


I decided to include Vitasoy Soy Milky light as it’s been my main staple milk since going off dairy. I personally found this milk to be the creamiest and most similar to dairy milk, so it was the easiest for me when I made the switch. I choose the light version as the regular version of Vitasoy Soy Milky actually contains added sunflower oil.


  • Super tasty and creamy
  • It’s fortified with at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml (similar to the other two above).
  • It’s pretty cheap, between $2-$3 at most supermarkets


  • Has added raw sugar – not the worst thing in the world, but the sugar doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit!
  • Not fortified with any other nutrients like vitamin D or vitamin B12.


4. Unsweetened Almond Milk by Almond Breeze

Fun fact, I personally hate Almond Milk. BUT I have so many clients that love it and I regularly see Unsweetened Almond Milk by Almond Breeze pop up in people’s diets, so I thought I would include this in my comparison.


  • It is one of the lowest-calorie milks on the market. This is may be a good option if you have a restricted-energy (calorie) intake or are trying to manage your weight. However, not great for kids as it is so low in fat.
  • It’s gluten free so great for coeliacs.
  • A good option for those who don’t like soy, oat or other milks.


  • It has calcium in it. However, it only contains 80mg of calcium per 100mg. My usual goal is 100mg of calcium per 100ml, or even better – 120mg of calcium per 100ml!
  • Not fortified with any other vitamins like vitamin D or vitamin B12.

Due to the poor amount of calcium, I generally don’t recommend Almond Breeze. Opt for an Almond Milk with higher calcium such as Vitasoy or Califia Farms.

5. Rice Milk by Pure Harvest

If you’ve met me or listened to me speak, you would know I’m pretty passionate about calcium being fortified in plant milks. Pure Harvest is a brand that is very popular, but it actually really annoys me!


There is no consistency in the calcium-fortification! Their rice milk is fortified! Yay! But their soy and almond are not!


  • It’s organic! This is a great option for people who are wanting an organic milk. Many organic milks are not calcium-fortified so be wary when choosing your milk!
  • No added sugar – many plant milks often have raw sugar added, providing limited additional nutritional benefit.
  • Calcium-fortified – it contains 110mg of calcium per 100mg. This is above my minimum calcium fortification goal which is 100mg per 100g, but not as high as my top goal which is 120mg per 100g.


  • Thin and super sweet – I personally am not a big fan of the taste, but many people are!
  • It doesn’t contain any fibre, unlike soy, oat or Impressed Plant Milk. Fibre is great for gut health, keeping you full and keeping your blood sugar levels stable!
  • It isn’t fortified with anything else like vitamin B12 or vitamin D.


The bottom line

There are A LOT of different plant-milks on the market and it can be confusing to know which one.

If you’re new to adopting a plant-based or dairy-free diet I would firstly recommend just trying all the different types of milk on the market. Theres everything from soy, macadamia, coconut and rice to hemp, pea and almond! Once you’ve found one you like, aim to choose one that’s fortified with calcium with at least 120mg per 100ml. Bonus points if you choose a milk that has additional fortification with vitamin B12 or Vitamin D too!

If you’re interested in learning more about plant-based nutrition, check out our blog post on 6 top tips for transitioning to a plant-based diet

If you’re following a plant-based or vegan diet and want to make sure you’re meeting all your nutritional needs, take control and book in to see one of our expert vegan dietitians. .


Can I drink alcohol when I am trying to lose weight?

Good news: yes you can drink alcohol when you are trying to lose weight. However, here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to have a drink.


1. Alcohol is a high kilojoule (calorie) macronutrient

Alcohol is a macronutrient just like fat or protein (except it has no nutritional importance) and therefore it still contains kilojoules. In fact, alcohol in higher in kilojoules per gram than carbohydrates or protein at 29kj/g (compared to 17kj/g for carbs and protein) and this isn’t including any mixers!1 This doesn’t mean you can’t have any alcohol – it just means you need to take into account these kilojoules the same as you would if you were to have an extra piece of choccy after dinner.

Remember, to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit, so consider the amount of alcohol you are drinking over the week. The NHMRC recommends at least two alcohol free days over the course of one week [2]. If you are consuming alcohol every day, particularly if you consume more than one drink on each occasion, this will make it more difficult for you to lose weight due to the added kilojoules.

Alcohol does not contain fibre, fat, protein or any other nutrients which contribute to nourishing your body or keeping you full for any amount of time. In fact, alcohol can speed up the digestion process for some people which might lead you to feeling more hungry than if you hadn’t had any alcohol at all [3].


2. Be wary of mixers

Mixers! This is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing to drink if you are trying to lose weight. Why? Mixers are typically things such as sugar sweetened beverages, juice (typically not the freshly squeezed, pulp-included type) or tonic water.

These are all high in kilojoules with very little nutrients or fibre and will typically exceed one recommended serve when added to your alcohol of choice [4]. For reference, one serve of these types of drinks (juice included) is 100mL, which is equal to approximately 180kJ [4,5]. But we know that the size of your average glass is much more than that – I measured the glasses I use at home to give you some comparison, and they were just shy of 400mL. A note for all the G&T lovers; tonic has a similar nutritional content to the likes of lemonade or coke.


3. Alcohol can lead to extra snacking!

Lastly, alcohol is typically a social drink, which for the most part is great and part of the reason why I believe it is okay to include it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, this can also lead to an increase in our intake of fast foods and excessive snack foods surrounding the intake of alcohol.

While this isn’t inherently detrimental if it occurs once in a blue moon, if we are consuming a number of alcoholic drinks and food in this manner on a regular basis, it is not conducive of weight loss. This is because the total kilojoules we consume as a result of these occasions can add up more quickly than we anticipated, even if it’s only once per week.

In summary, alcohol definitely has its place as part of a balanced diet, even when we are trying to lose weight. Try to limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks on any one occasion and remember to consider the extra kilojoules this is contributing to your diet, as well as the other tips I mentioned above.

A small glass of pinot noir over a home-made dinner with friends is a big yes from me!

Looking for more tips on how to get healthy?  Check our our blog on How I Became A Morning Person


[1] CHAPTER 3: CALCULATION OF THE ENERGY CONTENT OF FOODS – ENERGY CONVERSION FACTORS. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/y5022e/y5022e04.htm

[2] Alcohol | Eat For Health. (2019).

Retrieved from https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/fat-salt-sugars-and-alcohol/alcohol

[3] Preedy, V. (1996). Alcohol and the Gastrointestinal Tract. Boca Raton: CRC Press, https://doi-org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/10.4324/9781315149844

[4] Serve sizes | Eat For Health. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes

[5] Easy Diet Diary – Because what you eat matters. (2019). Retrieved from https://easydietdiary.com/


This blog was co-written by PNW Clinic founder Kiah Paetz and student dietitian by Donna Harris. You can connect with Donna on instagram @pepperandcorndietetics.

If you’re wanting to take your diet to the next level, and book in to see one of our expert Brisbane dietitians. .

A List of The Healthiest Beans To Eat

It’s not a secret that legumes are very good for us and should definitely be part of a healthy diet. They have very little downsides other than eating a lot can make us fart! They are high in fibre, micronutrients and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Not only this but legumes are cheap, non-perishable and take very little skill to prepare. But which should be included on our list of the healthiest beans to eat?

I’ll compare a few of the most common legumes for you to see what differences they have, starting with the black bean.

1. Black Beans

Black beans are the little “black” beans which are commonly used in Mexican-style dishes. They are high in fibre at 15g per serve* and have very low sodium at 14mg per serve[1, 2,3] Their protein content is great too at 14g per serve.3 Black beans do have quite a high sugar content at 8.2g per serve; this is higher than what you would find in baked beans [3].

2. Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans are the maroon, ‘kidney’-shaped beans. Kidney beans have a slightly lower protein punch than black beans at 10g per serve – but this is still great [3]. They do have moderate salt at around ¼ of the daily recommendations for salt intake per serve at 500mg [2,3]. BUT! It’s not all bad news, there are ‘no added salt’ kidney beans available which have more protein and only 21mg of salt[3]! However, this version also comes with about 230kJ extra, so make sure you take this into consideration when choosing the rest of your meals for the day [3].

3. Baked Beans

Third in our list of the healthiest beans to eat are the humble baked beans. This bean is the one that almost everyone has probably tried at least once in their lifetime and is a rainy day staple in many Aussie homes. Baked beans are packed with protein and fibre, however, they do come with quite a hefty salt content. ‘Regular salt’ baked-beans (ie, the ones that don’t have ‘reduced salt’ smeared all over their packaging) have about 1000mg of salt – that’s around half the recommended daily salt intake [2,3]! The ‘regular salt’ baked beans have about 6g of sugar per serve too, which is moderate – but higher than their other legume friends (not including black beans) who top about 2g [3,4]. On the other hand, ‘reduced salt’ baked beans have about half the amount of salt at about 500mg (still ¼ of the daily recommendations) [2,3].But this reduced salt comes at a cost, with the sugar content of these guys at 9.5g per serve [3].

4. Lentils

Lentils are the small, round legume commonly used in curries and casseroles. These guys have the least amount of kilojoules, salt and sugar of the legumes I’ve discussed today. But they’ve kept their protein high at about 13g per serve and fibre moderate at about 7g [3]. If you are looking for something to bulk up your meals with added protein and fibre (but without excess salt and kilojoules) then lentils are the legume for you.

5. Chickpeas

Last but certainly not least is chickpeas. Chickpeas are arguably the most versatile legume, they are the key ingredient in so many delicious foods, including hummus and falafel! What’s better is they are equally as nutritious as all of the legumes I’ve already discussed with about 770kJ, 11g protein and 8g of fibre [3]. Chickpeas are another example of a legume where you might wish to choose a ‘reduced salt’ or ‘no added salt’ version as regular chickpeas come with about 430mg of salt (just under ¼ of the daily recommendations) [2,3]! A reduced salt serve will bring that salt level back to only about 55mg of salt – much better [3]! A lower salt version may also bring the protein and energy level down slightly, but not enough to dull their nutritional shine.

So, Which Are The Healthiest Beans To Eat? 

I’ve thrown a lot of numbers at you here and it might seem a little overwhelming, but let’s take a step back and look at these legumes with a bit less of a critical mind to see the bigger picture.

All in all, most legumes are on a fairly even playing field in terms on their nutrition with some slight variances in kilojoules here and fibre there. As I started out saying, they are all high in fibre (which is great for our gut!) and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. However, the main nutrient which varies significantly when it comes to legumes is salt.

As we have seen, kidney beans and chickpeas can come with quite a high salt percentage; even reduced salt baked beans have about ¼ of our daily intake! Excess salt can lead to high blood pressure and eventually heart disease; so it is important that where possible, you check the nutrition labels and choose a ‘reduced salt’ or ‘no added salt’ version [5]. If that isn’t possible, just remember to be aware of the salt content of these legumes and reduce your daily salt intake in other ways – such as not adding salt at the table, or choosing less processed foods and more whole, plant-based foods!

I have included a table of all the nutrients of interest for each legume I discussed today to make it clearer for you.

Happy leguming!

Looking for more tips on how to eat more beans?  Check our our blog on 6 Top Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

This blog was co-written by PNW Clinic founder Kiah Paetz and student dietitian by Donna Harris. You can connect with Donna on instagram @pepperandcorndietetics.

If you’re wanting to take your diet to the next level, and book in to see one of our expert Brisbane dietitians.