No dairy, but kids still need calcium

  • By Casey Seidenberg Special to The Washington Post
  • Monday, June 2, 2014 11:48am
  • Life

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.

To each his own, I say to my son. And because he eats a full plate of broccoli rabe with his pizza, providing him with calcium and many other important nutrients, I don’t lose sleep.

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?

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:

  • Almond butter on toast, apple slices or a banana.
  • Sesame noodles.
  • Fresh peas right of the shells.
  • Sesame seeds on salads.
  • Hummus and chips.
  • Edamame.
  • Raw spinach in a smoothie.
  • Soup with chicken broth made from bones.

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