Ah milk. When we're young, we're encouraged to drink it at every meal as it is the best source of calcium according to moms and grandmas everywhere, but did you know that it's been suggested that only raw (unprocessed) milk provides us with any reasonable amount of calcium? Since nobody is very keen on naturally obtaining their milk straight from the cow by stalking pastures late at night, it's important to realize that there are other food sources of calcium you might not be considering as options for kiddie mealtimes. And since it's unlikely that we're going to get little ones to pop calcium and vitamin d pills or anything else not shaped like Fred Flintstone anytime soon, it's best to try to encourage healthy eating habits at the table. Consider the following 10 picks for an alternate source of calcium besides milk:
1. Dark Leafy greens: Might be hard to get little Johnny to pick up his fork to tackle spinach, but encourage him to channel Popeye so as not to miss out on this best source of calcium pick.
2. Fortified orange juice: We fortify everything these days, including orange juice, so give them their C's and their calcium in one healthy glass.
3. Kale: Hyped as superfood by nutritionists because of its cancer-fighting properties, kale is great in soups, as a side to meat or fish, and even in a super smoothie with yummy berries and fruits, leaving your kid feel like a superman!
4. Chia Seeds: Considered to be a “super” seed for delivering the max amount of nutrients with a minimum amount of calories, these almost tasteless little monsters contain five times more calcium than milk! So go ahead, add this best source of calcium candidate to your kids' pudding or blend them into a yummy fruity smoothie!
5. Seaweed: While sushi may not be as healthy as we think due to potential mercury in raw fish and high content of toxic anti-nutrients in soy such as aluminum, fluoride, MSG, and nitrates, seaweed on its own is a great metabolism booster. So instead of a boring sandwich for school lunch, surprise your adventurous kid with a crunchy seaweed wrap with canned wild salmon, avocado and bean sprouts!
6. Yogurt: A great pick for best source of calcium, yogurt is fun, cool and refreshing and provides all sorts of essential nutrients. Mom, make sure you buy the organic kind with no sugar in the ingredient list, and add berries or natural Stevia sweetener to make it more flavorful!
7. Oatmeal: Buy the plain unflavored kind that is also gluten-free and add fresh fruits for more flavor; kids love it and it keeps them full all morning.
8. Dried Figs: Dried fruit is nature's candy, it's also a great pick for best source of calcium because it's fun to eat and tasty too.
9. Arugula: Increased popularity in gourmet fare, arugula is surprisingly high in calcium. Sneak some into kiddo's next salad.
10. Broccoli: Broccoli seems to be kryptonite for kids, but it can't be undervalued as a pick for best source of calcium. Try adding some cheese and you've just combined two calcium powerhouses.
Calcium is so crucial during the growth stages of a child's life. While handing them calcium magnesium supplements may seem quick and easy, consider what benefits can be gained by adding calcium rich foods to their diet, full of many vitamins and minerals!
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