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:
- Unfortunately, bone fractures are on the rise in children. Researchers believe this may be the result of decreased bone mass and reduced physical activity among today's children.
- Drinking less milk and more soda is a potentially dangerous combination for children's bones. By not drinking milk, children's bones are not absorbing the calcium necessary to build bone. Then by drinking soda, they are stripping their bones of calcium.
- Starting at age 9, kids need almost twice as much calcium as they did previously! That's because teens' and tweens' bones are growing the fastest.
- Fewer than 10% of girls and only 25% boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium. This lack of calcium can have a negative impact on both bones and teeth as these adolescents enter adulthood.
- 90% of adult bone mass is acquired in girls by age 18 and by 20 in boys.
- 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.
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.
Mom's Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers
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
toasted coconut shreds
chopped roasted peanuts
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:
- Kids and pancakes just go together. Why not try ricotta hotcakes? They're like pancakes, only softer and fluffier and have lots of calcium.
- Your kids might like spinach if it's tucked inside a crispy calzone with calcium-rich ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
- Make pizza healthier by using whole wheat dough, adding vegetables, and using different sauces like BBQ sauce for a BBQ pizza.
- Over 50% of kids cite strawberries as their favorite fruit. So they'll love these Fresh Strawberry, Almond, and Coconut Muffins for breakfast and this Strawberry-Rhubarb Sponge Pudding for dessert.
- Although it's well past St.Patrick's Day, what kid wouldn't love a bright green milkshake?
- 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.
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