Plant-based milk alternatives have become increasingly popular with a huge variety of grains, seeds and nuts used as the base. Although they are often fortified with vitamins like D and B12 to try to replicate the nutrient contribution of cow’s milk, they are generally lower in protein and contain binders and preservatives. It’s easy to make them yourself though and capture more of the nutrients naturally present in the base ingredient and limit the amount of additives consumed. Dates can be added to replace the sugar naturally present in cow’s milk or try it unsweetened! These beverages are not recommended as replacements for whole cow’s milk in children under 2 years of age due to their reduced nutrient content.
1. Soak oats (or nuts/seeds) and dates if using, in 2 cups of hot, boiled water for at least 1 hour. This can be done in your blender but if it’s glass, be sure to put in a metal spoon to displace the heat and prevent cracking.
2. Add remaining water and cinnamon, vanilla if using, and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
3. Place strainer over a large pitcher. Slowly pour oat or nut mixture through the strainer using a spoon to help it pass. You may need to do this twice. Add pulp in as desired to increase the nutrition content of the mylk, being mindful of the thicker texture that will result from the pulp.
4. Refrigerate until chilled and for up to 1 week. Shake before serving.
Source: Nicole Fetterly, RD
Childcare facilities with 8+ children should check with their Licensing Officer about what is needed to serve food.