Sunday, February 28, 2010

Calcium for Active Toddlers

When Maia turned one, her Pedia suggested that we start training her to cut down on her milk intake. From her usual 20-24 oz daily formula feeding, it was suggested that we start feeding her only 8-16 oz per day.

It would not have been that challenging if she took her milk directly from me. But there were just certain unavoidable events in our lives that didn't permit us to do that, even if we really, really wanted to.

As I too have been reading several articles on the cons of formula feeding I did not object to the doctor's advice. I was even more determined to do it since I too have been targeting of weaning Maia off formula milk by the time she's 18 months old. Yes, milk is a good source of calcium. But there are other sources of calcium out there. We just need to have the conviction to use them instead of cow's milk.

Dra. Chen also suggested that we use rice milk. But they are quite expensive and to date, I only found them at Healthy Options which isn't very convenient for me. I can make my own, but I don't trust myself enough to make a palatable version of the commercially available one.

The best option for me still, is to cut down on the formula and improve Maia's daily meals instead.

For toddlers 1 to 3 years old, the daily calcium requirement is 500 milligrams mg. As a guide, I made this list of calcium rich foods from babycenter.com:

  • 1/4 cup raw tofu, prepared with calcium sulfate: 217 mg (The calcium content of tofu varies, depending on how it's processed. Check the label.)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt: 207 mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses: 200 mg
  • 1/2 cup low-fat fruit yogurt: 122 to 192 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 133 to 250 mg
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese: 167 mg
  • 1/2 cup milk: 150 mg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk: 144 mg
  • 1/2 ounce Swiss cheese: 112 mg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt, soft serve: 102 mg
  • 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese: 102 mg
  • 1 slice calcium-fortified bread: 100 mg
  • 1/2 ounce mozzarella: 91 mg
  • 1/2 slice cheese pizza (fast food chain): 91 mg
  • 1/4 cup collard greens: 89 mg
  • 1/4 cup homemade pudding (from mix or scratch): 76 mg
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed butter): 64 mg
  • 1/4 cup turnip greens: 62 mg
  • 1 ounce canned pink salmon, solids with bone: 61 mg
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach: 60 mg
  • 1/2 cup ready-to-eat cereal, calcium fortified: 51 mg
  • 1/2 cup soy beverage, calcium fortified: 40 to 250 mg

In time, I'm hoping to be able to come up with a more comprehensive list and a weekly menu perhaps. It's a long way to go, but learning how much of this and that do toddlers her age need is definitely a start. I'm just happy too that the baby seems to be picking up now that milk isn't the only thing that would fill her tummy up.

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