Ask a Nutritionist: Kids and Plant-Based Calcium
Cracking the plant-based nutrition code can be a learning curve, so it always helps to have expert advice. That’s why we’re kicking off a new series where we bring frequently asked questions to the pros about how to have a balanced plant-based diet.
For our first installment, we had questions about how kids can get the calcium they need, so we turned to Alexandra Caspero and Whitney English Tabaie. Registered dieticians and creators of Plant-Based Juniors, Caspero and Tabaie are also the authors of First Bites and the Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: What can you do to make sure kids are getting enough calcium from whole-food plant-based sources?
A: Calcium is abundant in plants. Good sources of calcium include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, beans, oranges and some seeds. In fact, the calcium found in cruciferous vegetables is twice as bioavailable as that found in cow’s milk.
Unfortunately, the majority of little ones we know aren’t taking in several servings of greens a day. In fact, many studies show that vegan children fall below the recommended daily intake for calcium. This is why we recommend that all plant-based kids, especially our under-3’s, be offered 2-3 servings of calcium-fortified foods a day such as fortified soy or pea milk or fortified plant-based yogurt.
Raising healthy kids starts in the kitchen. From calcium, to protein to iron and beyond, we’ll be covering how to nourish growing kids with foods that grow from the Earth here. Stay tuned for next time!