My oldest son does not drink milk. He does not eat cheese. Even as a baby, he eschewed that celebrated milk mustache, and any ounce of cheese I sneaked into a meal came right back out with a grimace. This aversion never wavered; he is 11, and he still takes the cheese off pizza.
Over the past few decades, we’ve been told that the best sources of calcium are milk and cheese, but what if your child, like mine, doesn’t drink milk? Or what if you want to diversify a child’s diet so he is not relying only on dairy products?
There are countless appetizing ways to ensure a child consumes the calcium required to build strong bones and teeth, support muscle and nerve function and sustain heart health.
For instance, here is a sample day of calcium-rich meals:
Breakfast. A smoothie with almond butter, yogurt, a banana and a handful of frozen strawberries.
Snack. Granola wedge made with sesame and/or sunflower seeds.
Lunch. A whole-grain bean burrito with a side of carrots.
Snack. A handful of almonds with an orange or some dried apricots.
Dinner. Salmon with sesame seeds and kale chips or steamed broccoli.
More calcium-packed ideas:
Spread almond butter on toast, apple slices or a banana.
Serve sesame noodles to the pasta-loving set.
Take your child pea-picking at a nearby farm and watch them tear open the shells to pop the calcium-rich peas in their mouths.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads.
Hand out hummus and chips as a snack.
Place a bowl of edamame on the table for snack.
Toss a handful of raw spinach in a smoothie.
Make soup with chicken broth made from bones.