Thursday, May 22

Are Your Kids Getting Enough Calcium (and Chocolate Pudding)?

choc pudding eating

Kids need calcium to build strong bones and teeth. And as much as they might wish it, chicken nuggets just ain't gonna cut it.

Here are some facts about kids, calcium, and bone health:
How can you ensure that your kids build strong bones and teeth?
  • Make sure they consume their needed amount of calcium every day through well-balanced meals. Click here to find out your child's calcium needs from birth to age 18.
  • Serve a healthy breakfast. Kid favorites such as pancakes, French toast, and waffles can be made with whole wheat flour and calcium-fortified milk or soy milk. Plus, did you know that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better on standardized tests?
  • Serve vitamin D enriched milk, which helps the body absorb calcium.
  • If your child is lactose-intolerant, then make sure he/she gets enough calcium from non-dairy sources, such as calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice as well as lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
  • Encourage them to get some physical activity for 30-60 minutes a day.
  • Make sure they see their doctor regularly.
Remember, building strong bones early in life helps prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Many thanks to all of you who have submitted entries for Beautiful Bones. We have an amazing array of calcium-rich dishes from breakfast to dessert. Would you like to participate? You have until May 31st, and can see the details here.

Now for the chocolate pudding...

When I was kid there was nothing better than coming home from school, opening the refrigerator, and seeing those old-fashioned ice cream dessert glasses filled with Mom's chocolate pudding, bananas, and Graham Crackers. Cool, creamy, and soothing, just what any kid could use after a long day at school. Plus it's low in fat and high in bone-building calcium, vitamin D and protein.

I make pudding with soy milk for me and skim milk for Jeff, and both always come out satisfyingly thick and creamy. Even though there are no children in our house, every time I eat this pudding, I feel like a kid again.

choc pudding 2 cups

Mom's Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers

Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

This recipe also works well with vanilla or banana pudding partnered with Vanilla Wafers (my brother Paul's childhood favorite). You could also mix in some shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or Cool Whip--whatever makes your little one smile.

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups soy milk (or skim milk)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8-10 low-fat graham crackers
1 large banana or 2 small ones, sliced

Optional garnishes:
toasted coconut shreds
chopped roasted peanuts
Cool Whip

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup of milk, whisking until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Add the second cup of milk and salt, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Lower heat, cooking pudding for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pudding from heat for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate chips. Lightly whisk one egg with vanilla extract and slowly add to the pudding, whisking constantly. (Removing it from the heat will prevent the egg from cooking). Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until thick, stirring several times. Remove from heat.

Assemble 4 serving dishes. Place a layer of bananas on the bottom of each dish, then top with some pudding, then graham crackers, and repeat. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with your choice of toppings.

Here are some other high-calcium recipes your kids might like:
Ivy thinks my blog is yummy! Thank you, dear Ivy, for bringing a big smile to my face. Here are more yummy blogs:
  • Anamika: Her cakes are works of art.
  • Linda : I'd love to bake in the kitchen with her.
  • Nicisme: I get a sugar high looking at her sweets.
  • Patricia: I become the Cookie Monster when I visit her blog.
I'm also sending a warm and fuzzy hug to Amy and Deeba for giving me the I Love You This Much Award. Amy and Deeba are always generous with spreading the love and always manage to brighten my day. Allow me to share this award with all of you!

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glamah16 said...

This grown up wants that pudding!

Anonymous said...

I love scratch pudding, and it always brings a grin in our house. You see, several years ago, as I was cooking a pudding, Mike was carrying a heavy lamp down our basement stairs when the ceramic globe came off and landed on his hand, cutting it nearly to the bone. As he was bleeding and nearly passing out at the bottom of the stairs, I literally could do nothing except finish the pudding- thankfully it was nearly done- and then I went to tend to him and take him to the ER, leaving the pudding on the stove to develop a thick skin. and pudding = love, but a bad memory for Mike.

Too bad for him!!! ;-)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Me thinks I'm not getting enough pudding.

I'm going to try this recipe soon.

Anonymous said...

I've been having great luck making pudding with reconstituted nonfat powdered milk. I figure that helps balance out the whipped cream layers (my wee one is just nuts for parfaits).

In fact, it's a good thing he's tucked into bed because if he saw that photo I'd be in the kitchen whisking away by now.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Never mind the kids, I'll be wanting some of that!

Emily said...

Yes!! That pudding looks amazing! I would eat it with a glass of milk or soy milk on the side.

I've got to work on my entry!!

Nic said...

My kids would eat that every day if they could, and I would happily join them!

Asha said...

We "older folks" need Calcium too you know!!;D

Looks delicious. Enjoy the long weekend, we will be watching Indy this Monday!:))

Heather said...

wow that looks amazing! I better not let my husband see this or he's gonna want to move into your house... bananas, chocolate and peanuts... his three favorite things!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Love the pudding.
My daughter is almost twelve, so I'm always looking for ways to get her to eat healthy which is sometimes not easy.
Luckily she loves yogurt and she loves milkshakes.

Manggy said...

Hmmm? Oh, you were saying something about kids and calcium, then my mind short-circuited when I saw the amazing pudding :) I don't think any kid (including this one-- in the head) or adult will be able to resist! Hahaha.
You're absolutely right about the importance of healthy bones in kids and teens, Susan. I wish I'd known it when I was a (real) kid, then maybe I'd be sturdier/ taller. I do love this recipe, now I'll know what to do with extra skim milk!

Lysy said...

My mum used to give us instant chocolate pudding from a sachet for breakfast just to get some milk inside us! I cringe now, but your home-made version looks absolutely delicious (maybe not for breakfast nowadays...)

NĂºria said...

Gosh!!! I wanna be a kid again :D. I'll have this fixed for my dauther tomorrow for breakfast... will count the kisses and share some with you!!!!

Mishmash ! said...

I want some calcium too :P
terrific picture, Susan !

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of my mom's Ice Box Cake. Do you remember that? haha
Graham crackers layered with chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Thank you for posting all this good information about osteoporosis. My kids might wrinkle their noses at a glass of milk, but they would jump for joy if I served them this beautiful pudding!

LyB said...

This recipe sounds amazing, what a great way to sneak healthy desserts to my kiddos!

Melita said...

Oh yes, chocolate pudding at least once a week! My kids love it!
Bananas and graham crackers sound like a great addition! :)

Jeanne said...

That's the best way to get calcium into kids: in heavy disguise :) I remember having a glass of milk as my dinnertime drink every single night of my life until I was about 18 - I loved milk! And now I'm very grateful to my mom for having given me that good start in life as far as my bones and teeth are concerned. To this day there are few summer drinks I like more than a glass of chocolate milk :)

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Susan, the "inner child" i me is screaming for this pud! Great combination of ingredients and well structured. And those are some beautiful pictures you have there!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I have ALL of the ingredients right here & now (always keep a stash of chocolate chips somewhere). How fun to make pudding! Looks like we might be house-bound this weekend with the fire in the Santa Cruz mountains - the air quality is extremely bad & we're advised to stay inside & keep windows closed. A big bowl of home-made pudding should cheer everyone up.

Thank you for the sweet words & a big hug back to you!

xoxox Amy

Anonymous said...

I think for people who live in or near the Mediterranean, dairy is such a big part of the cuisine and daily life that they don't have to make such a conscious effort to get enough calcium. For the rest of us, it's something we do have to think about and your recipe reminds us that it can be fun and delicious too :)

I've seen recipes for chocolate pudding using just cocoa. I wonder how it compares to yours?

Nic said...

Thank you so much for the award, that made my day! Thanks for thinking of me, I'll pass it on soon!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beautiful pudding! My mom was a strictly from-the-box pudding maker, and believe it or not, I've never made from-scratch pudding. Time to start....

Deborah said...

I would never complain about getting my calcium from a big bowl of chocolate pudding!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...


kate-Yeah, it probably doesn't bring a grin to his face, huh? Maybe you should just enjoy this with your son. :)

kelly-Methinks you're right. :)

anonymous-I've never tried powdered milk, but that's good to know. Thank you. And say "hi" to your wee one for me. :)

forkful-Make an extra batch, but just don't tell them about it!

emiline-Then you'd really be boosting your calcium.

nicimse-Me too!

asha-True. :) Ah, yes, Nascar is quite the event in the South. Enjoy!

heather-Yeah, and our sofa is kind of lumpy. ;)

aparna-Well, those are 2 great sources of calcium.

manggy-I know what you mean. Pudding brings out the kid in all of us. :)

lysy-Pudding for breakfast? You were probably the envy of all the other school children!

nuria-Oh, how sweet. Thank you!

shn-Thanks, I'm glad you like it.

maryann-You know my mom never made icebox cake. I only learned of it when I lived in North Carolina!

lynn-I jump for joy myself!

lyb-Sometimes sneaky is good. :)

medena-Once a week--you're one cool mom! :)

jeanne-That's really wonderful. Seriously. Good for your mum and you, my dear. :)

peter g-Why, you just brought a big smile to my face!

amy-I didn't hear about the latest fire. Please take care, my friend.

christine-I don't know. I've never made it with just cocoa. I'm not sure if it would be as intensely chocolate-y.

nicisme-Wonderful! I like to make people smile. :)

lydia-Really? There's no time like the present. :)

deborah-Me neither. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I know I should lust for the chocolate pudding but it's the peanuts and banana that make me wish I had a bowl of it. Excellent.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I don't think any kid would pass the opportunity of having stronger bones if that involves these super yummy puddings, Susan. :)

Thank you so much for the award, my dear friend!

MeloMeals said...

I am drooling so much over your past two posts... the lemon custard and raspberry sauce.. and the sweet corn.. I LOVE the addition of ginger to the corn.. I will definitely try that..

Becca said...

That looks absolutely delicious! I am going to have to get my husband to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing such great recipes!

A Mainer in Exile in Oregon

Annie said...

Looks divine and sounds luscious! I have to try your pudding recipe. I have never used chocolate chips in pudding before. I like the sound of that! And the bananas and grahams are a great addition...

Anonymous said...

I love chocolate pudding! Yours looks so delicious! I wouldn't pass on this had you offered me some:)) Chocolate-banana combination is something I just can't say not to. Printed the recipe! I will try it! Thank you for posting. And congrats on your welldeserved awards!

Ivy said...

Your post, as always, is so informative. I will definitely make this for my childred (whisper) and might get to each a spoonful as well (lol).
BTW Ben and I are hosting a Food Event on "eating healthy stuff" so would be glad to see you participating as well as your readers.

Peter M said...

As much as our tastes change as adults, I still adore chocolate pudding and thanks to you more Jello brand!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That's a lot about calcium I didn't know. Makes me wonder about my own eating. I guess the doctor's orders are to eat more pudding? If I must--for my health, of course! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I was shocked to read that so little children get the required amount of calcium. I hope it's not that bad in the Netherlands! My children get pretty healthy food and drinks so they should be safe :)
Congratulations on your awards and thanks so much for the yummy blog award, you made my day :)

Honeyed Hashette said...

Love bananas and chocolate!
This looks so good!
The little bowls are cute too.

RecipeGirl said...

I think my little guy gets plenty of calcium. He's a great eater and milk drinker too. I'm sure he wouldn't mind some chocolate pudding though to help keep him healthy :)

My mom used to make pudding all the time when I was a kid. I should be doing that for my kiddo too!

Gattina Cheung said...

People from my home country in old days didn't drink milk (or have dairy products) as much as in the west, but I grew up with drinking a lot of soymilk, which was so yummy, the same way I feel your pudding! Well deserve the award Susan!

Cakelaw said...

Pudding that's delicious and good for you - I'm there!

Katie Zeller said...

I'm not a kid....but I'm still making the pud!
And, since I'm not a kid I can eat it all and no one can tell me not to! So there!

Prudy said...

Gorgeous pudding pics. It's good to be reminded to pump those little bodies full of bone-building calcium. Congrats on your award. It's well deserved.

Unknown said...

my kids don't drink milk, they're both allergic to dairy products. but they love tofu and tempeh. they also like beans a bit and love lettuce, any fruits (except frozen ones). they love nuts and i don't know if i have to worry about their bones as they don't consume milk?

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a nice Mom to have had this waiting for you after school.I think pudding brings out the kid in all of us!

Anonymous said...

oh yum!!! i love pudding so much, this looks delicious. now i;m going to be craving this like crazy....

i need a banana now!

Jaime said...

mmm chocolate and bananas! i would love to try this recipe!

Anonymous said...

Susan, I just wanted to let you know that today I made your chocolate pudding. It turned out great! We all loved it, especially my chocoholic daughter:)

I used low-fat milk instead of soy milk and Dutch cookies instead of graham, worked fine! The only thing is it was enough for only 2 people, so next time I will double the recipe to have enough for the entire family. Thank you so much for the recipe! It's a keeper!