Maids-a-Milking; but what kind of milk?

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There are many types of milk available in the market today.

The “maids a milking gift” is pretty sweet. I’m pretty sure I would pass that chore off to someone else if that was my job.

So what about milk? Most of us think of cow’s milk, but these days there are dozens of kinds of milk: goat’s milk, soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, buttermilk and other variations on cow’s milk, such as evaporated, condensed, powdered and more. Is one better than the other?

Milk (aka cow’s milk)

Cow’s milk is one of the best food sources of calcium, as well as vitamin D. Milk is also a good source of protein at 8-9 grams per cup. All cow’s milk vitamin A and vitamin D fortified. Some people refer to whole milk as “vitamin D” milk, but all are fortified with vitamin D, even the fat-free. Whole milk is 3.3% fat, then there is 2%, 1% and fat-free. Here is a quick profile of milk:

  • Whole milk is 150 calories per cup and 8 grams of fat.
  • 2% milk (aka reduced fat) is 125 calories per cup and 5 grams of fat.
  • 1% milk (aka low-fat) is 105 calories per cup and 2.5 grams of fat.
  • Skim/fat-free milk is 90 calories per cup and 0 grams of fat.

The protein and calcium are slightly higher as the fat content goes down. The other nutrients, such as carbohydrates, sodium and vitamins, are almost the same.


Originally, buttermilk was the liquid that formed when making butter from cream. It is not milk that has butter. Most buttermilk today, often used in baking, comes from introducing an acid into milk. I usually do it by adding vinegar or lemon juice instead of buying an entire container of buttermilk. Buttermilk comes in reduced fat or low-fat.

Goat’s milk

I remember goat’s milk from when I was growing up because my aunt was allergic to cow’s milk and used goat’s milk as an alternative. (Soymilk had yet to become widely available.) You can find it in cans or refrigerated. To most people there is a unique/different taste to goat’s milk, and it may take some getting used to. Like cow’s milk, it comes in whole and low-fat versions, but in direct comparison, goat’s milk has more calories and fat per cup: whole goats milk = 170 calories and 10 grams of fat in one cup.


Dozens of types of soymilk are available. This milk is often used by people who can’t, don’t or won’t drink milk for various reasons. Since it is a plant food, vegans often choose this liquid as their milk substitute. People who can’t tolerate lactose (naturally occurring milk sugar) may also choose soymilk instead. If is difficult to list the calorie and fat content of soymilk since the companies have various types (regular and light) and many flavors from plain, vanilla and chocolate. There is even soynog from Silk. Another advantage: no cholesterol and potential heart health benefits from soy.

Almond Milk

Almond milk has been around for many years, but has recently received more attention when Silk offered it as a flavored beverage in vanilla, chocolate and plain. It does contain fat, since it comes from a nut. It also has calcium, but little protein, and no lactose.

Rice Milk

Seen as another milk alternative, rice milk often comes from brown rice. Plain rice milk has about 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and about 1 gram of protein.

Other cow’s milk

Sweetened condensed milk has a lot of added sugar. Usually used in baking, or Vietnamese Coffee. It comes on whole, low-fat and fat-free versions, so the calories and fat vary. It is very high in calories.

Evaporated milk is milk with half the water removed. Often used in baking, it substitutes for “regular” milk if needed. Just add an equal amount of water. Evaporate milk also comes in whole, low-fat and free-free versions now too, so it can lighten a recipe.

Non-fat dry milk is powdered milk. You add water to the powder to get fat-free liquid milk. I often suggest the powder be used to increase calories in the diets of people who would like to gain weight since it has protein, calories and no fat. Add it to soups, cereal, and beverages to boost health calories.

Here is a way to get three milks in one: Tres Leches Cake or Three Milk Cake, believed to originate from Latin America, many New Mexican’s love this dessert. This is a lightened version from Cooking Light, but it isn’t a low-calorie dessert. Enjoy!

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