Being a parent is one of life's greatest joys. Every day with your child is a new adventure - one that's filled with love, laughter and lots of fun. And yet, it can also be full of challenges. Challenges that make you want to find a relaxation retreat that takes last minute bookings.
While some people may be lucky enough to have an easy-going kid when it comes time to eat, most of us have our work cut out for us. Allergies, intolerances, stubborn minds and even trickier taste buds...it can be a bit of a minefield.
Amongst the begs, pleads and attempts to make those brussels sprouts look delectable, now you have to worry about whether they're getting the nutrients they need to thrive! As much as they might like to live off of cake and chocolate bars (hey, who doesn't), it's our job as parents to rule over mealtime with the motto "you'll thank me later".
Calcium, as you may well know, is vital for your kids during their development.
The benefits of calcium include strengthening bones and teeth, regulating muscle functions, as well as helping healthy nervous system function. So, how can you help ensure that your kids are getting their fair share?
If you've got a fussy eater in the family, or some difficulties around allergies and sensitive tummies, fear not.
Read on to discover 6 dairy-free ways to help your kids get their daily intake of calcium.
Leafy Green Veggies
If dairy isn't doable, you can find a good source of calcium in leafy green vegetables. This includes broccoli, cabbage, spinach and bok choy.
So, if you're looking for lunch and dinner ideas, why not try out a stir fry? The yummy spices and sauces make these veggies far more appetising for scrutinising kiddies and will help to ensure they're getting their fill of calcium.
Soy and Tofu
If your child is lactose intolerant, chances are you've got a few cartons of soy milk in the fridge.
Soy milk is a great alternative to regular dairy milk, and most on the shelves today are infused with calcium.
Try giving your kids a warm glass of soy milk before they go to bed, pour it over cereal, or make your own soy milkshake for a special treat!
Tofu can also be a good source of calcium, though it can be harder to work into your kid's diets if they're picky eaters. There are heaps of delicious ways you can include tofu in your diet.
From the sea to the dinner plate, fish like sardines and salmon can contain a good amount of calcium due to their bones. Happily, they're also quick and easy lunchtime foods.
A half cup of canned salmon can contain 402 mg of calcium, and it takes up minimal space in the lunch box.
Spread it on some crackers for a quick afternoon snack, or use it to spice up a nice salad (see leafy greens for other ingredients to include!).
Seeds and Nuts
As well as a wonderful, healthy pick-me-up, some nuts and seeds can help your kids reach their daily calcium requirements too.
Brazil nuts and almonds are the best nuts for calcium, with 15 almonds giving about 40 mg of it.
Sesame seed paste (tahini) also contains calcium, so crack out the blender and whip up some hummus to have with your dinner!
The benefits of calcium for ongoing growth and development are widely known, so it's not surprising that some food companies have added it into their products.
Next time you're at the supermarket, keep your eye out for calcium-fortified breakfast cereals, juices and bread.
Not only are these incredibly convenient, but every little bit will be going towards your child's recommended daily intake.
Sometimes, all you need is a bit of extra help. There are heaps of calcium supplements for kids on the market today, designed to help provide the nutrients they need to thrive.
Next time you're at your local pharmacy, speak to one of your friendly pharmacy assistants about which calcium supplement might be best for your child.
Liquid calcium supplements are a great alternative to calcium tablets which can be chalky and hard to swallow. Gummies are popular but many are sugar-filled. Liquid supplements are unlikely to be choking hazards and can be added to their favourite drink if they are a little on the fussy side.
Help Your Kids Grow Up Big and Strong with Calcium
It might take some trial and error, but by incorporating any of these calcium sources into your child's diet, you may help to support their healthy development. And, with a creative mind, a killer recipe book and a go-get-em attitude, you might just find a new mealtime favourite for your family.
Would you like to learn more information about vitamins for children? If so, you can learn more here.
Looking for more information on Brauer Natural Medicine Liquid Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D? If so, you can find more information here.
*Always read the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Vitamins can only be of assistance if dietary vitamin intake is inadequate. Contains Potassium Sorbate.
Victoria State Government 2013, Better Health Channel, "Calcium", https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/calcium
C. Conrad Johnston, Jr., M.D., Judy Z. Miller, Ph.D., Charles W. Slemenda, Dr.P.H., Teresa K. Reister, M.S., Siu Hui, Ph.D., Joe C. Christian, M.D., Ph.D., and Munro Peacock, M.D, 1992, The New England Journal of Medicine, "Calcium Supplementation and Increases in Bone Mineral Density in Children", http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199207093270204#t=article