What to Do If Your Toddler Refuses to Drink Milk?

Milk: Does it do any good for my toddler’s body? A recent study suggests it may. Researchers discovered that children who drink cow’s milk grow taller compared to their counterparts. But before running to your nearest dairy aisle to purchase gallon-or-more of cow’s milk – just yet.

“Taller and heavier children do not necessarily lead to healthier adults or even healthier children,” according to professor of health and wellness Amy Joy Lanou of CNN. Indeed, height does not predict health status in any way and cow’s milk contains many unhealthy saturated fats linked with stomach and intestinal disorders as well as increased prostate and ovarian cancer risks; plant-based alternatives, like coconut soy or almond milk contain many of the nutrients found in cow’s milk.

So if your family doesn’t typically consume milk, don’t fret; your little one still receives all of the essential nutrients he requires for growth without adding cow’s milk to his meal plan. Just ensure he gets adequate calcium intake; depending on age requirements, 500-1.300 milligrams is generally adequate.

Here are eight strategies to help your children build up calcium without using cow’s milk:

  1. Yogurt and Cheese. Yogurt and cheese provide plenty of calcium for children’s growing bodies and should be offered after meals as a nutritious treat. You could pair cheese with fruits and crackers for snacking purposes or offer it simply as dessert. For kids that dislike dairy, there are still ways you can sneak it in: cheese can be added to pasta dishes such as eggs benedict; you could serve yogurt dip with fresh fruits; blend cheese into mashed potatoes for texture or blend it into meatballs as alternatives – or you could cook or bake using Greek Yogurk instead, further increasing calcium consumption!
  2. Green leafy vegetables. Broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens and bok choy are excellent sources of calcium; spinach also boasts plenty, but too much oxalic acid hinders calcium absorption – therefore other greens such as those mentioned are best served to your infant or toddler as a calcium source if possible – such as adding broccoli to pasta and rice dishes; chop kale/bok choy into scrambled eggs for breakfast or bake some fun crunchy chips to snack on!
  3. Salmon and Sardines. When purchasing Salmon/Sardines you should specifically seek those that feature soft bones – these won’t pose a choking hazard! Salmon also provides essential Vitamin D which aids calcium absorption. For an interesting twist with canned Sardines you could combine with tomato sauce as part of pasta meals; alternatively you could swap out tuna for salmon for casserole purposes or replace crab with it to create salmon cakes!
  4. Nuts and Beans. Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini and dried beans are packed full of calcium-rich foods like almonds and Brazil nuts; you could offer nuts as snacks; grind almonds into meal or flour to use when baking; give almond butter instead of peanut butter to your toddler for lunchtime snacks! Additionally you could incorporate white beans into soup recipes, or grind chickpeas to use as dippers with vegetables for dippers!
  5. Blackstrap Molasses. Packed full of iron, manganese and calcium nutrients — perfect for vegetarian or vegan diets — Blackstrap Molasses makes an amazing addition to any vegetarian or vegan diet and even makes for great toddler iron supplements! Add it into pancake batters or any baked goods recipes as an easy boost of nutrition!
  6. Tofu. Tofu made with calcium sulfate has more calcium than tofu made with magnesium chloride, or nigari. When feeding picky eaters, tofu can become their go-to food without much drama; from pairing it with leafy greens for tofu-veggie fried rice; mixing in chicken in stir-fry medley to creating tasty tofu sticks as snacks!
  7. Oranges. Not only are oranges packed full of vitamin C, they’re also chock-full of calcium! Incorporate fresh oranges or cut orange juice (diluted with some water to lower its sugar content). Just read its label carefully so you get as much calcium from it as possible!
  8. Vitamin D. Because without Vitamin D, our bodies cannot absorb calcium properly, it’s vital that toddlers get enough of this important nutrient (up to 400 international units/day). Soak in some sun light for some extra vitamin D every day! Or consider providing your toddler with beef and egg yoke dishes!

If your child still isn’t getting enough calcium through food sources alone, talk with their physician about adding a multivitamin into their daily regimen.