Given up on diary by way of intolerance or just had a gut full? These are the best-tasting dairy-free milk alternatives you need to build muscle. Wading through the options to find the best—and best-tasting—choices can be daunting. So we raided every grocery within a kettlebell’s throw of our offices, rounded up all the brands we could find, and, with the help of nutritionist Marisa Moore and a gang of Men’s Fitness taste testers, did all the heavy lifting—er, drinking—for you.
Soy Milk: The protein punch
Soy’s great for active guys, Moore says. In taste/nutrition, it’s “the closest to milk and has more protein than other nondairy picks.” Soy was also Men’s Fitness testers’ fave.
“Spot-on body and flavor.”
“Just like milk.”
Almond Milk: The all-rounder
This also has a dairy taste but packs fewer calories. Bonus: Almonds have the most calcium of all nuts. As with any non-dairy choices, beware of mega added sugar (one we tried had 13g!).
“Nutty and not too sweet.”
“Nice and creamy, not too thick.”
Cashew Milk: On the light side
Cashew milk has zero sat fats, few calories, and is fairly creamy. Our testers’ main impression, though: “Meh.” It also has virtually no protein. But for dieting, we say Yea.
”Not bad for cereal.”
Hemp Milk: Friendly fat
The least “milk-like,” hemp can be an acquired taste: In our test, it got the fewest points—and the most grimaces. But it can be a wise choice: “Hemp has more omega- 3s than other options, plus a bit more protein,” Moore says.
“Reminds me of vanilla ice cream.”
Coconut Milk: Non-dairy dessert
Rich and creamy, coconut’s perfect for smoothies. But with lots of saturated fat, it’s not so heart-smart, so don’t drink it daily.