Calcium builds strong muscles, making it a key element to a child’s diet. Strong bones early in life decrease the chances of osteoporosis as an adult. A glass of milk typically comes to mind when you think about calcium, but there are other options if your child isn’t a fan of milk.
Processed cheese slices that come in individual plastic sleeves don’t have to be the only ones your kids eat. There are many different types of cheese to offer flavor variety and calcium. Cheese works well by itself as a snack, with crackers or in meals. Make plain cheese more exciting by cutting it into cubes and letting the kids pick them up with toothpicks. Add feta to pizza or buy a block of cheese in a different variety than usual to give the kids a chance to try something new. Melting cheese over tortilla chips makes quick nachos that work well at snack time.
Yogurt is another calcium-rich food that is appealing to kids and versatile. Many kids enjoy a bowl of yogurt without any additions, either at breakfast or as a snack. If you want to mix it up a little, add in some fresh fruit, granola, jam, chopped nuts or other garnishes. Layering the ingredients with yogurt in a clear glass makes a kid-friendly parfait to make the yogurt even more appealing. Smoothies also work well for kids. Place yogurt and frozen fruit in a blender and process until smooth. You can also add a few ice cubes if you’re using fresh fruit to get a creamier texture.
Juice is a popular drink option for many kids. Look on the label to choose calcium-fortified juices if you serve it as a beverage anyway. The nutrition label gives you the exact amount of calcium your child will receive from a serving of juice. Juice also has a lot of sugar, so it shouldn’t be a primary source of calcium for your child, but it can be a good alternative if your child is tired of milk.
While some foods naturally contain calcium, others are fortified with calcium, giving you more options when you want to increase your child’s intake. Soy or rice drinks are often calcium-fortified and offer an alternative to those who don’t like cow’s milk or cannot drink it. Cereals are another popular kids’ food that are often calcium-fortified.