A beverage made from soybeans, soymilk is an alternative to cow’s milk for those who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. Soymilk is a great way to incorporate soy protein into your diet. You can pour it on your cereal, use it in baking, or just drink it. There are several varieties (low-fat, unsweetened, creamer) and flavors (chocolate, vanilla, plain). Make sure the variety you select is fortified. In an 8-ounce portion, the soymilk should be fortified with about 30% of your calcium needs and 25% of your vitamin D needs for the day, thus making soymilk’s nutrient profile comparable to cow’s milk.
Use soymilk as a replacement to milk in any dish. Try the sweetened varieties when baking, and unsweetened milks in creamy dishes such as soup or mashed potatoes. Soymilk can be found in the refrigerated section, or in shelf-stable cartons. But don’t let the date on the carton fool you. Once opened, soymilk must be refrigerated and used within 5-7 days.
Soy cheese is available in chunk form, individually wrapped singles, and shredded. It comes in a variety of different flavors as does others cheeses. Soy cheese contains little of the beneficial isoflavones, unless the new concentration processing is used which preserves these isoflavones in the cheese. Select soy cheese that has been fortified and meets about 15-30% of your calcium needs in a 1-ounce portion.
This cultured soy product is much like regular yogurt, containing all of the beneficial cultures that make yogurt so good for you. Look for varieties that are fortified to provide about 25% of your calcium needs and 15% of your vitamin D needs per 6-ounce portion.
Soy Ice Cream
For those of you with a sweet tooth, there’s also soy "ice cream," and although it’s delicious and perhaps lower in fat than regular ice cream, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a health food.
To describe tofu as soybean curd turns many people off, so try this analogy: Cheese is to cow’s milk what tofu is to soymilk. Although the flavor is not at all the same as cheese, a similar process is used to make it. You can get plain tofu, smoked tofu, firm tofu, silky tofu, low-fat tofu…are you getting flashbacks of Bubba’s shrimp monologue? And the cooking possibilities are as copious as the varieties. You can marinate, sauté, or stir-fry it, blend it into a smoothie, or just slice it up and eat it right out of the package. Just think of it as the other white meat, and use it accordingly.