When people discover that I go against the flow…(GASP!)…and don’t give my children glasses of cow’s milk everyday, they usually say something like: “How do they get their calcium then?”
Per my previous post “Why Gluten Free and Cow-Dairy Free?” I explained why we don’t do cow dairy. So, then, what do I feed my children for calcium?
The first two calcium sources I prepare for them are kale and tahini. I prepare pureed kale for my babies when they are 8-9 months old. Next, I introduce tahini around 9-10 months. Other sources of calcium are broccoli, almonds, and goat yogurt/cheese.
Now for my favorite part: the ways I incorporate these foods into their daily meals.
Kale- I’ve also talked about kale as one of my daily “Top 4.” It’s a daily addition to our diet because it is a calcium source. Check out: When kale is on sale, I buy at least 5 bunches. When I’ve steamed, pureed and frozen it, I drop kale cubes into spaghetti sauce, soups, chili, scrambled eggs, applesauce (yes, my kids eat green tinted applesauce 🙂 etc. One of my daughter and son’s favorite first foods is pureed pear sauce and kale. You’ll even find me serving more than enough so I can finish of their bowl.
Tahini- This seed butter is made from sesame seeds. With a strong taste, I don’t serve this by itself. When I first introduce it, I mix a small spoonful into pureed acorn squash or sweet potatoes. Eventually, I make dressings with it, or I sprinkle nutritional yeast over it and we dip broccoli into it.
Broccoli- As with kale, I steam, puree, and freeze it. It’s another good addition to spaghetti sauce, soups, chili, and scrambled eggs. My daughter loves broccoli, and my son squeals until I give him some off my plate. We steam it as a side dish about once or twice a week for dinner, nothing added to it. Then we eat the leftovers for lunches. We also love dipping the lightly steamed florets into a pile of nutritional yeast. I’ll even dice broccoli to add it to scrambled eggs, I’ve even gone as far as buzzing off the florets as small as I can with a knife and stirring them into my son’s yogurt (he loved it!).
Almonds- Raw almonds and raisins are a popular snack in our family. We also love almond butter! My 14.5 month old squeals with delight at the sight of the almond butter container (I buy the freshly ground tubs of it from Vitamin Cottage). He eats it little-by-little on a spoon. Often we spread it on sweet potatoes (SO good!), toast, pancakes, apple slices, banana slices, etc.
Goat yogurt/cheese- Goat yogurt is a popular breakfast with granola, ground flax and molasses. I’ll serve goat cheese slices with sliced pears or in any meal like enchiladas, quesadillas, an omelette, etc.
I just came across an article about some top calcium sources. I liked it because it listed the daily value of calcium that the foods provide. This particular list included almonds, kale, and sesame. It also listed flaxseeds (I had no idea, but I’m thrilled!), brazil nuts, and dried herbs (http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-calcium.php).
At least every other day (in a perfect world, it’d be everyday, but I’m not perfect), my children get kale or broccoli in some way or another. Even yesterday, my 14.5 month old wasn’t too interested in trying cut-up broccoli florets for the first time (I had shaved the top of the broccoli off), so I sprinkled them in his goat yogurt and he ate them fine. They probably had a texture similar to the ground flaxseeds I put on his yogurt. I sneak foods into other foods all the time, especially for the sake of calcium.
Here’s to calcium and tasty foods at the same time! 🙂