10 Best Essential Vegan Calcium Sources For Your Kids
Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in your kid’s body. It's well-known for its ability to strengthen and preserve bone health. Muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, neuron transmission, and blood clotting are all dependent on this mineral.
For children, the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is aged 4 to 18, per day 1,300 mg.
Despite this, a huge majority of people do not follow these guidelines. Many people avoid eating animal products and dairy, despite the fact that this mineral is found in many plant foods.
Calcium is an essential vitamin for all developing children, regardless of their diet. The trouble is, dairy isn't the only food that provides this crucial ingredient, and studies have shown that calcium from specific plant foods is better absorbed than calcium from dairy products.
Children's calcium requirements for good bones and teeth are not met by dairy products. They can get their calcium from a range of plant foods as long as they're included in your vegan children's meals and snacks.
Why Is Calcium Essential?
- All of the calcium in the human body is stored in the teeth and skeleton, with the exception of 1%.
- It's easy to see why calcium is such an important mineral for people of all ages and stages. It is constantly flowing to and from the bones and must be replenished.
- Calcium is especially important for optimal bone growth and skeletal development in children. During infancy, calcium absorption is high and is passively aided by the lactose in breast milk or formula.
- Calcium is required for your muscles to contract, your heart to beat, and your blood to clot, in addition to bone health. It helps your infant in a variety of ways!
- We're sure you're not surprised to learn that you don't have to give your infant cow's milk beyond 12 months if you don't want to, especially if calcium is the primary reason.
- It's possible that cow's milk isn't the best calcium source available. In fact, studies show that drinking too much cow's milk can put your child at risk for iron deficiency, type 1 diabetes, and kidney damage.
Vegan Calcium Sources For Your Kids
Seeds and their butter are also high in calcium, however, the amount varies depending on the variety.
Tahini, a sesame seed butter, has the most, with 130 mg per 2 tablespoons (30 ml) — or 13% of the recommended daily intake. Sesame seeds, on the other hand, give only 2% of the RDI in the same amount (20 grams).
Chia and flax seeds also include a good quantity, with 2 tablespoons (20–25 grams) providing roughly 5–6% of the RDI.
Seeds include fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals that are good for the body. They're also connected to health benefits like lower inflammation, blood sugar levels, and heart disease risk factors.
2. Foods Made From Soy
Calcium is abundant in soybeans by nature.
1 cup (175 grams) of cooked soybeans contains 18.5 percent of the RDI, whereas the same amount of immature soybeans (also known as edamame) provides roughly 27.6%.
Soybean-based foods like tofu, tempeh, and natto are also high in this mineral. The amount of calcium phosphate in 3.5 ounces of tofu is 350 mg (100 grams).
Tempeh and natto, both produced from fermented soybeans, are also good sources. One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of tempeh provides around 11% of the RDI, while natto provides roughly twice as much.
Soy meals that have been minimally processed are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They're also one of the few plant foods that may be considered a full protein source.
Because, although most plant foods are deficient in at least one of the nine essential amino acids, soybeans are high in all of them.
All nuts contain trace levels of calcium, but almonds are particularly high in it, with 97 milligrams per 1/4 cup (35 grams), or about 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Brazil nuts are second only to almonds in supplying roughly 6% of the RDI per 1/4 cup (35 grams), whereas walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts contribute 2–3% of the RDI for the same amount.
3. Some Nuts
Nuts are also high in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. They're also high in antioxidants, as well as B vitamins, magnesium, copper, potassium, and selenium, as well as vitamins E and K.
Regularly eating nuts can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and minimize your risk of metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
4. Lentils, Beans, And Peas
Beans and lentils are calcium-rich in addition to being high in fiber and protein.
The kinds with the highest quantities of this mineral per cooked cup (about 175 grams) are winged (goa) beans, white beans and navy beans.
Beans and lentils are also high in iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and folate, among other minerals. Antinutrients like phytates and lectins, on the other hand, reduce your body's ability to absorb other nutrients.
Antinutrient levels in beans and lentils can be reduced by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them, making them more absorbable.
Furthermore, eating a diet rich in beans, peas, and lentils lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dying young.
- Grains aren't commonly thought of as calcium sources. Nonetheless, certain types have high levels of this mineral.
- Amaranth and teff, two gluten-free ancient grains, for example, contribute about 12% of the RDI per cooked cup (250 grams). Both are high in fiber and can be used in a wide range of meals.
- Teff can be used to make porridge or added to chilli, while amaranth can be used as a rice or couscous substitute. Both can be crushed into flour and used in soups and sauces to thicken them.
6. Leafy Greens With Certain Vegetables
- Vegetables are one of the most important vegan calcium sources. Calcium is abundant in some plants, particularly bitter ones like dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.
- Spinach, bok choy, turnip, mustard, and collard greens, for example, supply 84–142 mg per cooked 1/2 cup (70–95 grams, depending on the variety) — or 8–14% of the RDI.
- Okra, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are among the calcium-rich veggies. Per cooked 1/2 cup (60–80 grams), these give about 3–6% of the RDI.
- However, antinutrients such as oxalates can be found in varying amounts in plants. In your intestines, oxalates can bind to calcium, making it difficult for your body to absorb.
- According to research, your body may only absorb about 5% of the calcium present in high-oxalate plants.
- As a result, low- and moderate-oxalate veggies like turnip greens, broccoli, and kale are preferred over higher-oxalate vegetables like spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard.
- One technique to reduce oxalate levels by 30–87 percent is to boil them. It looks to be more successful than steaming or baking, which is surprising.
- Arugula, another cruciferous vegetable, has 32 mg of calcium per cup.
- This may not seem like a large number, but arugula is high in water and low in calories, with only 5 calories per cup.
- A person's calcium intake can be increased by eating 3 or 4 cups per serving. Arugula also includes a substance called erucin, which may help fight cancer.
- Each cup of butternut squash contains 84 milligrams of calcium.
- The same dose also contains 31 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than one-third of the daily need. The National Institutes of Health recommends that men take 90 mg of vitamin D per day and women take 75 mg.
- Another strategy to enhance your child’s calcium intake is to include seaweed in their diet.
- Wakame, a raw variety, has roughly 126 mg, or 12 percent of the RDI per cup (80 grams). It's available at most Asian shops as well as sushi restaurants.
- Another common choice is kelp, which can be consumed raw or dry. Raw kelp contains roughly 14 percent of the RDI in one cup (80 grams), which can be added to salads and major dishes. Seasonings made from dried kelp flakes can also be utilized.
- Seaweed, on the other hand, may contain high quantities of heavy metals. Some types, such as kelp, can have extremely high iodine levels per serving.
8. Blackstrap Molasses
- Blackstrap molasses is a nutritionally dense sweetener.
- Sugar cane that has been boiled three times is used to make it. Unlike sugar, it contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including 179 mg of calcium per tablespoon (or 18% of the RDI) (15 ml).
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of blackstrap molasses contains enough nutrients to meet 5–15 percent of your daily iron, selenium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese needs.
- However, because blackstrap molasses is heavy in sugar, it should be consumed in moderation.
9. Fortified Foods And Drinks
Calcium is added to several foods and beverages during the production process. They're a great way to get this mineral into your child's diet.
Calcium-fortified foods include plant yogurts and some cereals. This mineral is occasionally added to flour and cornmeal, which is why various baked foods, such as bread, crackers, and tortillas, contain high amounts.
Calcium-fortified beverages, such as plant milk and orange juice, can supplement your child's calcium intake.
For example, depending on the type of fortified plant milk, 1 cup (240 ml) typically delivers roughly 30% of the RDI — or 300 mg of highly absorbable calcium. 1 cup (240 ml) of fortified orange juice, on the other hand, usually covers up to 50% of your daily requirements.
Soy milk, in particular, is a wonderful alternative to cow's milk since it has roughly the same amount of protein — 7 grams per cup — as cow's milk (240 ml).
Keep in mind that not all plant milk is fortified, so read the label carefully before purchasing.
10. Fruit With Calcium
Calcium is present in a number of fruit varietals.
Raw figs, for example, give 18 mg per fig, which is close to 2% of the RDI. At roughly 13 mg per fig, dried figs provide slightly less.
Oranges are another fruit with high calcium content. Depending on the variety, they contain 48–65 mg or 5–7% of the RDI per medium-sized fruit.
This list is completed by blackcurrants, blackberries, and raspberries.
Blackcurrants have 65 mg of calcium per cup (110 grams), which is around 7% of the RDI, while blackberries and raspberries have 32–44 mg per cup (145 grams and 125 grams, respectively).
These fruits are high in fiber, vitamin C, and a variety of other vitamins and minerals, in addition to calcium. Don’t miss to add the great vegan calcium sources.
- All Nutrition Sources from Wiley ( Peer-reviewed journal)
- PubMed Central ( National Institutes of Health database)
- USDA Food Composition Databases (Governmental authority)
Some Vegan Dishes For Your Kids With Vegan Calcium Sources
1. Calcium Tofu Scramble
- Prep Time: 6 minutes
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Organic soft tofu: 10.5 oz
- Pepper chopped: 1 red
- Mushrooms chopped: 1 cup
- Yellow onion chopped: 1
- Ground cumin: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Garlic powder: 1/4 tsp
- Chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Nutritional yeast: 2 tbsp
- Black beans: 1 can
- Garlic cloves: 2, minced
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
- Pour the olive oil into a skillet set over medium heat.
- Sauté for 5 minutes with the mushrooms, pepper, yellow onion, and garlic.
- Break the tofu blocks apart with a wooden spoon in the skillet until you have a good scramble texture.
- Add the spice mixture and blend well.
- Drain and drain the black beans before adding them to the mix.
- Serve immediately after reheating.
Amount Per Serving
- Calories: 224 Calories
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Sodium: 19 mg
- Potassium: 512 mg
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Sugar: 3 g
- Protein: 15 g
- Vitamin A: 1130IU
- Vitamin C: 41mg
- Calcium: 124mg
- Iron: 3.4mg
2. Black Bean Soup
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- Celery ribs: 3, finely chopped
- Extra: virgin olive oil: 2 tablespoons
- Garlic cloves: 6, pressed or minced
- Medium yellow onions: 2, chopped
- Black beans: 15 ounces, rinsed and drained
- Large carrot: 1, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- Chopped fresh cilantro: ¼ cup
- Ground cumin: 4 ½ teaspoons
- Red pepper flakes: ½ teaspoon or as your bby taste
- Low: sodium vegetable: 32 ounces
- Sherry vinegar: 1 to 2 teaspoons
- Freshly ground black pepper and Sea salt, to taste
- Optional garnishes: extra cilantro, diced avocado, thinly sliced radishes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until it shimmers. With a small sprinkle of salt, toss in the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring periodically, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, until the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes are aromatic. Over medium-high heat, add the beans and stock and bring to a boil. Cook, reducing heat as needed to maintain a moderate simmer, for about 30 minutes, or until the broth is delicious and the beans are very soft.
- Fill a stand blender halfway with soup, secure the lid, and blend until smooth. Alternatively, mix a part of the soup with an immersion blender.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper, cilantro, and vinegar/lime juice.
Amount Per Serving
- Calories: 342
- Total Fat: 6.1g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 3.7g
- Sodium: 1563.1mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 56g
- Dietary Fiber: 21.3g
- Sugars: 4.2g
- Protein: 18.7g
3. Baba Ganoush
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
Makes: 3 servings
- Aubergine (14oz): 1 large
- Tofu: 1⅓ tbsp
- Tahini: 1⅓ tbsp
- Lemon juice: 2 tsp
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Black pepper: 1 pinch
- Garlic granules/powder: ½ tsp
- Parsley: 1 tbsp, chopped
- Bake the aubergine for 40 minutes at 220°C/430°F after piercing it with a toothpick. In this instance, there is no need to preheat the oven.
- Allow the aubergine to cool entirely after the cooking time has passed before continuing.
- Peel and carefully dice the aubergine now.
- With the flat of a knife, crush the tofu.
- Blend the tofu, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic in a mixing bowl and toss well to combine.
- To finish the recipe, mix in the aubergine and chopped parsley one last time.
- Refrigerate the baba ganoush for 2 hours before serving for optimal results.
Serving Size: 100g
- Calories: 51kcal
- Carbohydrate: 6.5g
- Sugar: 2g
- Fiber: 3.5g
- Fat: 2.6g
- Saturated Fat: 0.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.2g
- Protein: 2g
- Sodium: 430mg
- Water: 88g
4. Orange Kale Smoothie
- Prep time:5 minutes
- Total time:5 minutes
Serves: 2 servings
- Orange juice: 2 cups
- Kale leaves: 1 cup
- Frozen pineapple: ¼ cup
- Mint leaves: 4
- Half of the orange juice should be poured into your blender. Blend in the kale, pineapple chunks, and mint leaves until smooth.
- Blend in the remaining orange juice until smooth.
- To serve, divide the smoothie between two glasses.
I hope you will include these vegan calcium sources in your kid’s meal plan and don’t forget to try these recipes. You can share your suggestions in the comments section below to assist other parents in incorporating them into their meal planning.
I trust you enjoyed this article on the 10 Best Essential Vegan Calcium Sources For Your Kids. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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