Everything you heard about calcium when you were growing up is probably true. It helps maintain strong bones and build strong teeth. It can protect against tooth decay. The benefits continue—you may not know that calcium keeps gums and jawbones healthy, too.
Now that you are a parent yourself, details such as this are all the more important. It’s also good to know that in addition to milk, highly touted as a rich source for calcium, there are a variety of other delicious sources from which to obtain the calcium you and your kids need. Here are some ideas for snack and meal-time:
Choose those that are dark green in color. Broccoli, spinach, and bok choy are three calcium rich veggies. Dip your broccoli into hummus (also calcium-rich) to make it extra tasty, or bake that spinach into a yummy casserole. Work your magic with side dishes, brightening options like sautéed kale with a marinade of soy sauce and lemon.
Dairy products are loaded with calcium. We’re all for the cheese quesadillas and the string cheese. Keep the ideas going – there are many ways to have fun with dairy.
Cheese cubes make the perfect snack – a healthy alternative to potato chips. Also try garnishing fruit with cottage cheese, getting on the morning smoothies (whipped up with low-fat yogurt), and offering mini-creations like melted parmesan and tomatoes on toast.
In addition to protein, soy is a great source of calcium. Steam soy beans and add them to your salad. Unleash the potential of tofu, whether you’re cubing it for an Asian-style soup, slicing it into a sandwich, or using it to fortify your stir fry.
Nuts and Seeds
Did you know that an ounce of sesame seeds provides as much calcium as a glass of skim milk? Go with a sesame bagel instead of plain, spreading a velvety layer of low-fat cream cheese on top to double your dose of calcium. Also try coating calcium-filled walnuts, sesame seeds, and other nuts of choice with maple syrup and a variety of dried fruits, then toasting the lot in the oven for some delicious, homemade trail mix.
Got some favorite calcium-rich snacks ideas to add to the list? Send us a comment to share them with our readers!
Check out our post on healthy lunch alternatives!