Students looking for their coffee fix at Front Room Coffeehouse can now select a variety of dairy alternatives.
Almond and coconut milk were introduced at all campus cafes in mid-March because of the demand for dairy-free options, Jim Sabin, an Ohio University spokesperson, said. They are available for an additional 60 cents per drink.
“Students are absolutely taking advantage of it and so far the feedback has been very positive,” he said in an email. “It is consumed in a much smaller percentage (than) dairy milk but still a significant enough amount to be relevant.”
Front Room and other campus coffee shops already offer soy milk for an additional 60 cents. The university also installed almond milk dispensers in the dining halls last year, and although students consume more dairy milk, Sabin said enough almond milk was used last year to continue using the dispensers.
Dairy alternatives have a variety of benefits, Angela Bohyer, a registered dietitian, said.
“Dairy alternative can offer less fat and are free of lactose,” she said in an email. “There are so many good tasting, dairy alternatives available now. Many dairy alternatives don’t have as much protein as skim milk though, so it is important to read labels and plan a balanced diet.”
Jennifer Magyari, a sophomore studying business and sociology, orders almond milk in her caramel macchiato at Front Room.
“I like almond milk so much better than dairy,” she said. “It’s better for you, and it tastes better.”
Bohyer said she is glad the university has dairy-free options in dining halls and in the coffee shops to accommodate lactose intolerant students.
“Some people are lactose intolerant and may have stomach aches, cramps and/or diarrhea when eating dairy,” she said in an email. “Lactose intolerance means they cannot tolerate the carbohydrate in dairy foods, lactose.”
Regardless of how students are getting it, Bohyer said calcium is an essential nutrient in a healthy diet.
“Calcium is found in plant sources, like green leafy vegetables, but more is more bioavailable from dairy foods,” she said in an email. “Calcium — along with the other nutrients in dairy products — helps build strong bones.”