6 of the Best Oat Milk Brands and Healthiest Varieties
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In case you’ve somehow missed it, oat milk is everywhere. Sales in coffee shops grew 425 percent between June 2017 to July 2018, and overall dollar sales increased 69 percent in 2018. It’s even predicted that oat may soon surpass almond as the favorite dairy alternative.
One reason oat milk may be so popular is that it’s a dairy-free option that’s also free of nuts and soy, which are two other common food allergies. (Oats are also naturally gluten-free, although that’s usually not a concern with milks). Another reason may be is that many brands add fat to their oat milk to help it froth up, making rich lattes and beautiful latte art.
And oat milk isn’t just for coffee! You can use it in place of milk in almost any recipe—smoothies, baked goods, creamy soups, sauces, and more—or just pour it over cereal or have a glass with cookies.
How to Find the Best Oat Milk
When buying oat milk, keep in mind that most brands are very similar when it comes to ingredients and nutrition. However, “as with any non-dairy milk, you want to make sure that it is not loaded with added sugars,” says Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet.
“Unfortunately oat milk is lower in protein than regular milk or soy milk, however, the majority of brands provide 2 to 4 grams, which is more than most other non-dairy options,” she adds. “Most brands also provide between 2 and 4 grams of heart-healthy fiber (which is more than regular milk) and are are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D.”
When you’re perusing through all the oat milk options at the store, your best bet is to read the nutrition labels so you know exactly what you’re getting.
The Best Oat Milks
Below are a few of the best oat milk options that are also widely available. They all do pretty well nutritionally, so try them out and see which you like best!
1. Califia Farms Unsweetened Oatmilk
Water, oats, sunflower oil, minerals, and salt combine to make this creamy plant-based beverage. Compared to other oat milks, the Califia Farms unsweetened option is low in carbs with only 9 grams per 100-calorie cup, and the 2 grams of sugars are natural sugars from the oats. You’ll also get a fifth of your daily calcium needs!
2. Oatly Low-Fat Oatmilk
Oatly adds more vitamins and minerals to its oat milk, so you get vitamin D (20%), calcium (25%), iron (2%), potassium (8%), vitamin A (20%), riboflavin (45%), phosphorus (20%), and B12 (50%) in a 90-calorie cup of their Low-Fat option. Getting half of your vitamin B12 from this is pretty great, as it’s essential for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. And since it’s often found in animal foods, fortified milks alternatives like this are great for vegans and vegetarians.
3. Planet Oat Original Oatmilk
Another option with only 90 calories and no added sugars, Planet Oat Original is fortified with calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamins A, D, and B12. The oat milk also contains gellan gum, a natural carbohydrate that helps to stabilize the drink and add thickness. And don’t be thrown off by this “gum” addition — according to a 2018 article published in EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Journal, gellan gum is safe to consume.
4. Pacific Foods Organic Oat Original
This option may be most caloric of this bunch coming in at 130 calories per cup with 25 grams of carbs, but it also has 4 grams of protein! And don’t be thrown off by the 17 grams of sugar — they’re all natural! The FAQ section on the Pacific Foods Oat Original page explains that during their process to turn oats into “milk,” enzymes are added to break down the oats, which creates those natural sugars. But per the FDA rules, those sugars must be listed in the nutrition panel as “added sugars.” If you check the ingredient list, you won’t find any sugars sneaking in there.
5. Silk Oat Yeah The Plain One Oatmilk
Perhaps one of the most recognized name of milk alternative brands, Silk branched out from their soy milk staple and into oat milk. Another one of the lowest-calorie options, their plain variety comes in at 90 calories per cup. It also provides calcium (45%), vitamin D (35%), riboflavin (20%), vitamin A (15%), and a whopping 50 percent of your daily vitamin B12.
6. Elmhurst Milked Oats
This oat milk — or “milked oats,” as they like to call it — is made from only five ingredients. And although Elmhurst doesn’t add any gums to the mix, it does add cane sugar and “natural flavors.” Still, it only adds up to four grams of sugar, which isn’t as bad as many other milk alternatives. And on the plus side, a cup provides 4 grams of protein, one of the highest amounts you’ll find in oat milk!