Enjoying a glass of rich chocolate milk brings back childhood memories of sugar highs and sweet cravings. But what happens when you give up dairy? Non-dairy milk brands have ensured that consumers will have the option to continue drinking chocolate milk when they adopt a plant-based diet. Instead of pouring Hershey’s chocolate syrup into your favorite plant-based milk, reach for the vast array of vegan chocolate milk products on shelves.
One-third of Americans regularly drink non-dairy milk at least weekly, according to MFAT Market Intelligence. Milk is quickly falling out of fashion–– and it’s taking chocolate milk with it. Similar to regular plant-based milk products, non-dairy chocolate milk brands use several ingredients such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, oats, or peas to replicate the creamy, rich texture of a conventional glass of chocolate milk.
With less saturated fat and additives than traditional cow’s milk, non-dairy chocolate milk products offer consumers a healthier option with the same sweet flavor. Cutting out the dairy from traditional milk chocolate, these beverages have been specially crafted to deliver an allergen-friendly indulgence to all shoppers. For example, traditional chocolate milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat per serving whereas several plant-based alternatives contain zero saturated fats.
Why You Should Avoid Dairy
Milk is the top source of saturated fat in the traditional American diet, according to Lee Crosby, RD, nutrition education program manager at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. By eating and drinking more cow’s milk, you are increasing your risk of disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
Those who drink a quarter cup of milk per day show a 17 percent higher risk of breast cancer, according to one study published in BMC Medicine. One other study found that drinking milk increases the risk of prostate cancer by 60 percent.
Dairy giants often shoppers to keep eating milk products, claiming dairy protein is necessary for good athletic performance. However, consuming dairy is linked to heightened inflammation, making it harder to breathe, delaying recovery times, and causing joint and muscle pains.
For the eco-conscious shopper, choosing dairy-free chocolate milk over traditional cow’s milk significantly benefits the environment. One serving of dairy milk is responsible for nearly three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a serving of non-dairy milk, according to a recent study. Making the simple switch from conventional chocolate milk to dairy-free alternatives can help protect the planet, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the milk industry’s excessive land usage.
The Best Non-Dairy Chocolate Milks
Now, you can revisit your childhood with several chocolate milk products that use a variety of exciting ingredients. From pea milk to oat milk, these brands have provided near-identical alternatives to the beloved indulgent beverage. So, put the chocolate syrup aside and give these brands a try.
Almond Breeze Chocolate
Creamy and rich but not too thick, Almond Breeze’s chocolate milk strikes the perfect balance of cocoa and sweetness. If you like your chocolate milk extra chocolatey, this is the one for you, with its rich, indulgent taste. The consistency is reminiscent of dairy milk and is not overly greasy, some plant milks. This milk is delicious on its own or mixed into coffee or smoothies.
Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Bored Cow Chocolate
Bored Cow’s rich, creamy milk will trick anyone into believing they are drinking a conventional glass of chocolate milk. And that’s because it’s as close as you can get to taste like dairy without the cow. Bored Cow uses Perfect Day’s animal-free whey to replicate the taste and texture of traditional cow’s milk with no animal involvement. This near-identical chocolate milk is 100 percent lactose-free, low in saturated fat, and gluten-free. Anyone with a milk allergy should avoid drinking Bored Cow because it contains whey.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g
Chobani Oat Chocolate
Chobani’s chocolate oat milk is a frontrunner in a competitive field. This chocolate milk offers a smooth consistency and avoids being too oily or too thick. For heart-conscious shoppers, Chobani contains zero saturated fat and only 5 grams of total fat per serving. We all know that chocolate milk is supposed to be a treat, but Chobani’s 16 grams of sugar is significantly higher than most of its competitors. Try Chobani if you need to win over a picky child, but eventually find an option with lower sugar content.
Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 0g
Elmhurst Milked Oats Chocolate
With only six ingredients, Elmhurst’s Chocolate Oat Milk provides shoppers with a simple yet luscious chocolate milk. This simple recipe makes Elmhurst friendly for anyone looking for an allergen-friendly option. The vegan chocolate milk is carrageenan-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with no gums or emulsifiers. However, Elmurst still managed to create thick chocolate milk reminiscent of traditional cow’s milk. With only 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 4 grams of fiber, this chocolate milk is your best bet for a heart- and gut-healthy option.
Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Oatly Oat Milk Chocolate
Oatly’s chocolate milk is so good – and popular – that you will have trouble finding it stocked at the grocery store. This delectable plant-based milk delivers Oatly’s usual creamy consistency with a hefty dose of cacao for a deep chocolate flavor. For some shoppers, Oatly’s 16 grams of sugar per serving might be too much, but every once in a while, it’s worth indulging in this rich beverage. Add this oat-based chocolate milk to your cup of coffee or enjoy it alone!
Total Fat 3.5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Sometimes you just need a sweet treat. In Malik, we found that classic chocolate milk tastes we loved as a child. This oat milk is made with just 5 simple, organic ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic, Gluten-Free Oats, Organic Cocoa, Pure, Organic Vanilla Extract made from Vanilla Beans, Himalayan Pink Salt. It’s just sweet enough to be a treat, and super chocolatey in taste. The richness of the oat milk will bring you back to the chocolate milk of your childhood, but without all the added sugar. With only 4 grams of natural sugar, it has less than regular milk!
Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Mooala Bananamilk Chocolate
We actually bought this banana chocolate milk by accident, the first time. But once we tasted it, it belonged in the cart every time. If you need a chocolate fix daily, then this is a great go-to since it’s healthy and indulgent. Make popsicles or a chocolate protein shake. It tastes like the old boxed chocolate milk of our past, except creamier. It’s almost like a smoothie or melted chocolate popsicle, with a hint of banana. If you’re a chocolate lover and want a healthier option, this milk alternative is for you. Try making a protein shake and add a spoonful of peanut butter.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Ripple Dairy Free Chocolate Milk
Ripple’s pea-based milk is built for your nutrition. Packed with rich cocoa and 8 grams of protein, Ripple’s Plant-Based Chocolate Milk provides us with the best of both worlds–– you will never want to go back to dairy-based chocolate milk. This plant-based milk contains 40 percent less sugar than conventional chocolate milk, has 50 percent more calcium than conventional milk, and offers shoppers an allergen-friendly option. Give Ripple a try and you will never look back!
Total Fat 4.5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Rise Brewing Co. Organic Oat Milk Chocolate
Rise Brewing Co. Delivers chocolate oat milk that doubles down on health benefits, containing twice the fiber of cow’s milk and half the sugar of most chocolate milks or even plant-based alternatives. This deliciously rich oat milk is made with simple, organic ingredients including cacao, sunflowers, sea salt, and oats that provide plenty of vitamins including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and more. This nitro coffee company managed to use just six ingredients to create simple, smooth chocolate milk.
Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g
Silk Soy Chocolate
Silk Soy Chocolate is almost too indulgent to believe that it’s healthy. Despite being thinner than its competitors, Silk’s Soy Chocolate Milk is an excellent source of calcium (50 percent more than conventional dairy) and a fantastic source of heart-healthy protein (8 grams per serving). However, with 20 grams of added sugar, the delicious taste comes at a cost! Enjoy a glass of Silk’s sweet chocolate milk but do so in moderation.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g