Great Meals For Lactose Intolerant Kids
by Indre Coleman
Simply put, lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to process lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.
Consuming dairy is generally not fatal, but leads to various forms of discomfort such as gas and bloating. For many of us, dairy products were a major part of the childhood culinary experience. The biggest question that comes up when cutting out dairy considerably or completely (varies by case and preference) is typically, “from where should we get our calcium?”
Fortunately, there are many non-dairy sources of calcium! Among the most important sources are spinach and dark leafy green vegetables, raw broccoli, white tuna (canned as well), salmon and sardines (with bones), almonds, and various fortified drinks. Many with lactose intolerance are at a heightened risk for vitamin D deficiency, so we will also place special focus on Vitamin D rich foods. While you should take in fortified drinks and supplements if you need to, we’ll focus on whole food sources in this article. In this day and age, thriving without dairy products is incredibly easy.
Breakfast: Smoothies are a great way to begin the day! Use a calcium rich almond milk base (home-made almond milk is even better and easy to make) and include whatever fruits and vegetables you can sneak in. Hemp seeds and coconut oil make for great sources of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. With enough sweet fruit (oranges pack a great deal of calcium), it is very easy to add plentiful amounts of spinach and leafy green vegetables, and still have a smoothie the kids will enjoy. If your children are weird in the way that I was, they may really love a savory breakfast of eggs, salmon, spinach, and onions made into a delicious hash. Try making “toad in a hole”, by cutting a circular hole in whole grain bread and cooking an egg in the hole.
Lunch: Lunch is a wonderful time to enjoy those dark leafy greens, steamed, blanched, sautéed, or served raw in a salad. Top the salad with a few canned sardines, or make it more delicious by grilling a whole sardine in the Portuguese or Spanish style.
In the northern latitudes, herring is one of the best sources of vitamin D, as well as EPA and DHA- fatty acids that are vital for preventing heart disease and maintaining the optimal functionality of the brain. The dark leafy greens with the largest amount of digestible Vitamin D are bok choi, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, and watercress. If you or your children absolutely can’t go without bacon, a wonderful way of eating bacon in a healthy setting is blanching a bed of watercress with a warm “dressing” that consists of sautéed bacon pieces, raw apples, a little olive oil, and a little vinegar. It’s an absolutely delicious salad!
Dinner: Pinto beans are an exceptionally good source of calcium, so prepare some with organic, short grain, brown rice- a winning combination since rice and beans form a complete protein. Top it with a lean protein like fish or chicken, add a side of steamed greens, and your favorite salsa for extra flavor and color. It’s both a delicious and visually appealing meal. Mollusks and crustaceans are both exceptionally high in Vitamin D, so introduce your children to the joys of well-prepared oysters!
A habit I picked up along the way is to finish dinner with a simple dessert of calcium rich orange pieces. It adds a wonderful zest to the end of the day!
About the Author: Indre Coleman
Born in Lithuania, Indre has spent years studying the impact of nutrition on health. In 2013 she founded Juices to Glow as a means for families to introduce healthy and nutritious cold-pressed juices into their diets as a source of vital nutrients to maintain an active healthy lifestyle. We'd like to thank Indre for taking the time to share her knowledge with us on the Marbella Family Nutrition Blog.