Building little bones: 5 ways to get calcium into lactose-intolerant kids

By Rachel O'Regan |


Dairy is one of the best sources of bone-strengthening calcium.

In fact, just one glass of regular, full-fat milk contains 40 per cent of a four-to-eight year old’s calcium needs. It’s an easy, tasty way to top up their levels and prevent weak bones.

But don’t sweat it if your kid is lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy (and can’t even handle lactose-free milk). Try these dairy-free sources and they’ll be calcium kids in no time!

1. Tahini.

Sesame seeds are packed with calcium (and flavour). The spread made from them, tahini, is also nut-free and suitable to take to school.

Swirl it onto sandwiches, shake it into dressings or even make these delicious sweet sesame pops.

Sesame and Coconut Ice Cream


2. Dark leafy greens.

You may have heard that greens are high in calcium, but not all are created equal. While spinach is high calcium, for example, just five per cent is absorbed due to antinutrients called oxalates.

Broccoli’s absorption is much higher at up to 60 per cent – go on and hide it all the foods, including this refreshing tabouli.

Broccoli Tabouli

I Quit Sugar Broccoli Tabouli recipe by Little Big H

3. Small bony fish.

Bones contain calcium, so eating bones only makes sense, right? While sardines and mackerel are usually too strong for kids, tinned salmon is mild-tasting and the bones are soft enough to eat.

However, you may want to check for larger bones that may be left in if you have small kids.

Salmon Dill Quiche

I Quit Sugar: Salmon + Dill Quiche

4. White beans.

White beans, also known as the common bean, have a huge amount of calcium. And kids love them!

You can add the soaked beans to soups, stews, salads and even mashed potato. They’ll never know they’re getting a nutrition kick.

Minestrone with Pesto

I Quit Sugar - Minestrone Soup with Pesto by Little Big H

5. Tempeh.

While soy is a good source of calcium, it can be difficult to digest, especially for little tummies.

Tempeh is fermented, which breaks down antinutrients and gives it a delicious nutty flavour. It’s especially good on the grill!

Tempeh + Papaya Satay Skewers

I Quit Sugar - Tempeh Satay Skewers from Green Kitchen Stories

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