My child is lactose-intolerant. What are some good alternatives for calcium-rich, kid-friendly foods?
MILK IS A MUST for most kids to grow strong, healthy bones. It is high in calcium and protein, fortified with vitamins A and D, and contains B vitamins and zinc. Two cups a day are sufficient for children ages 2-8, while 3 cups are recommended for those 9-18 years old. If your child has a lactose sensitivity/intolerance/allergy OR simply refuses to drink milk, there are many alternatives to ensure needs are met.
Milk or lactose sensitivity, intolerance, and allergy may not mean that ALL milk products must be avoided. Some children can tolerate some milk-based products, but not all foods, while other kids can tolerate these milk products in small doses. Sometimes taking a Lactaid pill before or with a meal can do the trick. Consult with your Pediatrician or Registered Dietitian before “experimenting” with foods or supplements.
The following are the current RDAs (recommended dietary allowances) for calcium for kids:
- Infants 0-6 months: 210 mg
- Infants 6-12 months: 270 mg
- Children 1-3 years: 500 mg
- Children 4-8 years: 800 mg
- Children 9-18 years: 1300 mg
Below is a list of foods and their calcium content in milligrams. If a combination of these foods is still insufficient to meet your child’s needs, a supplement may be required. Try offering the below foods (as tolerated) to provide dietary calcium, or contact Robin Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN, CSSD at email@example.com for more information!
- 1 cup skim milk: 301
- 1 cup low-fat fruit yogurt: 345
- 1 ounce part skim mozzarella cheese: 207
- 1 cup Lactaid milk: 500
- 1 cup calcium-fortified soy, rice, or almond milk: 300
- ¾ cup Total Cereal: 258
- 1 cup enriched cornmeal: 483
- 1 cup enriched wheat flour: 423
- 1 packet instant oatmeal: 100
- 1 oz cooked white beans: 161
- 1 cup collard greens: 357
- 1 cup Rhubarb: 348
- 1 cup spinach: 245
- 1 cup soybeans (edamame): 261
- 1 cup sweet potato: 88
- 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 300 mg
- 1 medium orange: 50
- 10 dried figs: 169
*** Remember to always carefully read labels as each food product may differ along with their Calcium content.