Many children are allergic to cow’s milk or struggle to digest cow’s milk. So, their mothers wonder what they should give their child as an alternative to the cow’s milk. The mothers find it challenging to mix the cereal of their child with a liquid that will add nutritional value for their children. Some parents use soy or almond milk, but some children also face allergic reactions because of soy or nuts. The use of rice milk has become a prominent option for the children of the vegans as it is free from lactose. But is it a safe option for your children? In this article, let’s discuss everything from the risks to the benefits of rice milk.
What Is Rice Milk?
Rice milk is obtained by using rice grains after running it through a grinder or a mill and then diffusing it to exclude the granules. The second option is to use rice flour along with the protein obtained from brown rice. Rice milk has a sweet texture because of the conversion of carbs into sugar. Also, the primary element of rice milk is carbohydrate, and so when your toddler consumes rice milk, he or she will obtain a considerable amount of energy. Rice milk has been a safe alternative for milk energy for children.
Nutritional Facts Of Rice Milk
If you compare rice milk with any other alternative (except cow’s milk), you will find that it contains the highest amount of calories, sugars, and carbohydrates. Here is the nutritional value of one cup of rice milk:
- Calories: 120
- Carbs: 22g
- Sugars: 10g
- Protein: 0g
- Fat: 2g
Is Rice Milk Safe For Infants And Toddlers?
Rice milk is a safe option for children who struggle with allergies because of cow’s milk. But, it cannot be recommended as a safe option for infants who should have a formula or breast milk. Rice milk will not cause allergy, but being plant milk, it will also not give vitamin B12 or calcium to your children, which is necessary for their growth. Parents who are left with no other choice can opt for rice milk for their children, but they should also supplement it with a good source of nutritious foods and fats.
Benefits Of Giving Rice Milk To Your Child
- Lactose-Free Milk: Rice milk is one of the safest options for children who are allergic to cow’s milk because it is lactose-free and also does not have the risk of nuts. It will certainly help you to keep adding some source of milk to your baby’s diet.
- Tastes Sweeter: Most of the milk alternatives do not have a sweet taste besides the rice milk because it contains carbohydrate which converts to sugar, giving the milk its sweetness.
- Vegan Milk: Because of the presence of lactose, generally, most milk alternatives do not get the recognition of being a vegan source of milk. However, as rice milk is lactose-free, vegans can use it as a milk alternative.
- Non-Fatty Milk: Rice milk contains zero cholesterol. So, if you are in search of a non-fatty milk alternative, then you can opt for rice milk.
- Great Option for Children with Diarrhea: When children suffer from diarrhea, they find it hard to digest food, especially dairy products. But, rice milk is one such food that your baby can digest quite easily even while suffering from diarrhea.
Possible Risks Of Giving Rice Milk To Babies And Toddlers
- Due it’s the lack of protein, rice milk cannot be considered as a substitute for cow’s milk.
- The inorganic arsenic content in rice may disrupt the brain development of your baby.
- Rice milk does not contain nutrients such as calcium or iron.
- Due to the high amount of carbohydrates and sugar, rice milk is not an ideal option for children suffering from juvenile diabetes.
How To Make Rice Milk?
Rice milk can be made and used for many purposes. Here is an easy process of making rice milk. You can store it for a long time by fortifying with calcium powder or any other supplement.
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice
- 4 cups of water
- One tablespoon of honey
- Half a tablespoon of vanilla or any other alternative for flavoring
- A pinch of salt
- Mix all the ingredients and blend it till the liquid becomes white
- Now, strain the liquid with the use of a fine sieve or muslin cloth to exclude the grains
- Finally, rice milk is ready, and you can store it in the fridge for future use.
Other Cow Milk Alternatives That Are Safe For Children
- Soy Milk: Soy milk is collected from soybeans, and it is a good source of protein but lacks Vitamin B12. However, soy milk in moderation (1 to 2 cups a day) is a good substitute for children over a year old who doesn’t like to drink milk, who are lactose intolerant, or who are allergic to cow’s milk.
- Coconut Milk: It is made from coconut water and cream. Coconut milk is a good source of carbohydrates, fats, and calories. Even though it is not considered as a total alternative for cow milk, incorporating it in cooking or as an occasional drink for the toddlers is a good idea.
- Almond Milk: Obtained from almond and water mixture, it is a good source of vitamin A but lacks protein and calcium. We recommend you to pick the best brands that are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D. Also, opt for an unsweetened version.
- Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is a milky substance derived from hemp seeds, the same seeds that will grow into marijuana if allowed to! It is recently gained popularity; hence, most mothers are unaware of this option. It is not commonly found in stores, as well. Being rich in omega-3s and omega-6s, it will positively influence the child’s development. You can give it to babies with nut allergies and babies who develop an allergy towards dairy products. However, make sure you are getting good quality hemp milk. Remember, the quality varies from brand to brand.
As a parent, you should be aware of what is good for your baby. If the baby is unable to digest cow’s milk or having allergies because of it, then you can discuss that with the pediatrician of your baby before adding an alternative milk option such as the rice milk.