Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Cows' milk and products made from it provide a great source of nutrients for young, growing children. Things like food allergy, intolerance and choice, means that not everyone can, or chooses to drink it.
While there are so many delicious plant-based milk alternatives these days, it's important to be mindful of what's in it – or not – if you're seeking a close 1:1 substitute.
If plant-based is what you need, I recommend picking a variety that is calcium fortified, with a minimum of 100mg of calcium per 100mls. Fortified soy milks are therefore an excellent choice. I also recommend avoiding varieties with added sugars or sweeteners – even natural sugars, such as rice malt and agave syrups. This is because our body treats them in the same way as everyday white sugar.
Some people opt goats' milk if cows' milk sensitive. For those drinking goats' milk and eat few animal-derived foods, keeping an eye on B12 intake is a good idea. This is because it doesn't provide quite as much as what cows' milk provides. For context: Most people get the bulk of their vitamin B12 from animal products.
In the pictorial below, it's worth noting the protein content of almond and rice milks. When providing milk alternatives to kids, protein consideration is vital. These milks just don't make the cut nutritionally.