By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
Rice milk is a popular plant milk, with usage ranking below soymilk and almond milk but ahead of other plant milks. Rice milk is the most common grain-based plant milk. Other grains used commercially to make milks include oats, quinoa, and a mixture of 7 grains. Grain milks are similar, from a calorie standpoint, to almond milk with 45 to 160 calories in an 8-ounce serving. As is true for other milks, flavored milks (vanilla, chocolate, carob, for example) will have more calories than unsweetened or original milks. Rice milk provides little protein and is typically lower in sodium than almond milk. Rice milk’s consistency is often thinner than soymilk or almond milk. Oat milk and 7-grain milk are higher in protein than rice milk but do not have as much protein as soymilk. Most grain milks have vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12 added although some products are not enriched and not all contain vitamin B12. If you’re relying on plant milks as a source of vitamin B12, be sure to check the product label.
Brown rice is the base for all brands of rice milk that we found. Pacific Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods 365 brand are made with organic rice. Some varieties of Rice Dream are organic – this is indicated on the package. Pacific oat milks are organic as are their 7-grain milks and Dream Blends’ products. An upcoming issue of Vegetarian Journal will have more details about grain milks.
To find out more about grain milks from Dream Blends, Pacific, Rice Dream, 365 brand, and Trader Joe’s, take a look at this chart:
You may also be interested in information on Nut and Seed Milks: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/milk_alternatives/nut_and_seed_milk_table.pdf
Thanks to VRG interns Candice Kalinski and Gabrielle Rapsis for helping to collect product information.