Sneak calcium into your picky eater's diet

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Calcium is extremely important in all of our diets, but especially for children who are developing their bones and teeth. Kids can be picky eaters and not all kids like to drink milk. So how do you make sure that your child is getting enough calcium in their diets and also make sure that they’ll want to eat it? Make sure you incorporate foods with calcium into foods they already like.

You’d be surprised the numbers of foods that have calcium, even fruit juices have been incorporating calcium into ingredients. Of the long list of foods that contain calcium, some include:
  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Soy milk
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Molasses
  • Sweet potato
  • Peas and beans
  • Broccoli and kale

Using these calcium-rich ingredients parents are sure to find some combination that your child will enjoy.

Some of the easier recipes include kid-friendly staples. Every child loves pancakes! Instead of whipping up your regular pancake batter add some sweet potatoes into the ingredients to sweeten them up a bit and to add some extra flavor. Instead of using sugar try using molasses as a sweetener, not only in your pancake recipe, but all recipes that require sugar. Macaroni and cheese is another favorite for kids. While the cheese and milk gives kids some of their allotted calcium, add a little broccoli or puree some tofu and add it into their mac and cheese. Kale is a great ingredient to introduce into pasta sauces and can be incorporated into the sauce without there being much or any difference in taste.

If your child isn’t quite as picky, be a little more risky with their meals. Switch the occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich for cottage cheese and jelly. The jelly gives your child the sweet flavour that they desire and they’re still getting in a serving of calcium with the cottage cheese. Smoothies are also a great way to incorporate calcium. Whip up their favourite fruits into a smoothie with milk (whole milk is usually best, or you can use soy or almond milk) and top it off with kale. Chances are they won’t even notice!  Chickpeas can be transformed into a few kid-friendly foods, including hummus, which is great for your kids to dip their favourite crackers or vegetables into. You can even use chickpeas to make chickpea cutlets if your kids are fans of chicken cutlets, or turn them into yummy little nuggets. The texture is slightly different, but the taste comes very close to the real thing!

Even the pickiest of eaters can have calcium snuck into their favourite foods without them even noticing. If parents are still having issues, calcium supplements can be crushed and added to nearly anything without changing the taste of foods.

Rory Mycek is a guest contributor from TopDentists.com, the dental resource site of EverydayHealth.com.


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