9 Non-dairy Options for Calcium
1. Non-dairy calcium resources
Your child’s body needs calcium for the healthy development and strengthening of muscle and bones, as well as to maintain normal blood pressure, regulate blood clotting, prevent digestive tract cancers, and help his or her heart, muscles, and nervous system function well. That’s a long list! Though dairy products are usually the go-to options for calcium, if he or she is lactose intolerant, doesn’t like those items, or avoids them due to ethical or religious restrictions, there are other options to get the recommended daily amount.
2. Orange juice is great for calcium
Orange juice, especially when it is fortified with extra calcium and vitamin D, can be a great way to bring calcium into your child’s daily diet. In fact, most little ones will relish the opportunity to have some juice!
3. Another reason to eat your greens
Leafy green vegetables, like mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, bok choy, and collard greens are some healthy options that can help your child increase his or her calcium intake. Although these might seem like difficult options for picky eaters, a cup of cooked spinach, with 245 mg of calcium, nearly fills the recommended daily allowance of 260 mg for children 7 to 12 months old!
4. Protein and calcium
Relatively inexpensive and protein-packed options for calcium are canned salmon (with bones) and sardines, which have 180 mg of calcium in a 3-ounce serving. You could combine a few of your favorite flavors to whip up crispy salmon cakes, add these options to a salad, or just serve these proteins plain — either way your child will be satisfied and healthy after a meal with these items.
5. Tofu adds calcium to dinner
Did you know your favorite tofu stir-fry could be a great source of calcium for your child? With 105 mg of calcium in just 1 ounce of tofu, your favorite recipes for this ingredient will allow you to change things up at meal times, while giving your child the nutrients he or she needs.
6. Fill sippy cups with soy milk
Just because milk is off the table, doesn’t mean that a sippy cup isn’t your friend when trying to add calcium to your child’s diet. Calcium-fortified soy milk can have between 200 and 500 mg of calcium in just 1 cup, so it is a great option for your child.
7. Make breakfast count
Didn’t our parents always say that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? Well, it is definitely a great opportunity to give your child a cup of calcium-fortified cereal, which can contain between 100 and 1000 mg of calcium. Oatmeal is another great option, with one packet delivering between 99 and 110 mg of calcium to your child’s body.
8. Add white beans or soy beans
You can serve white beans or soy beans plain or in a dish like chili to give your child’s calcium intake a boost. Just a half cup of white beans contains 95 mg of calcium, and soy beans pack an even bigger punch in the same amount with 130 mg.
9. Some fruits do the trick
Many children already enjoy the sweetness of fruits like oranges and figs, so these are great options for adding about 100 mg of calcium to your child’s diet. You can use these fruits as healthy options for snacks or even to replace more sugary desserts.
10. Calcium in hand-held form
You can use enriched white pita bread and corn or flour tortillas to add calcium to an on-the-go meal or snack. One slice of each of these options contains about 150 mg of calcium and provides you with endless options for easy, portable meals.
- National Institutes of Health
University of Rochester
- Non-dairy sources of calcium.
University of New Hampshire
- Non-dairy food sources of calcium.
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