Dairy substitutes for kids?


MGrady967

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The best subsitute I've found for cow's milk (in taste, and probably in health) is coconut milk. As for cheese and yogurt... I gave those up last year and I miss them sometimes, but I haven't found a substitute for them. I just live without them.

Our daughter is 18 months old and has only ever had water and breastmilk, so I'm sorry I can't really recommend how to get your son interested in milk alternatives. We're trying to get her interested in the coconut milk but no luck yet, so I know how hard it can be with kids!

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Here are some good food choices that are rich with calcium:

  • Vegetable sources of calcium include kale, spinach (cooked), collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and bok choy, and sea vegetables like nori.
  • Meat and seafood sources include organ meats, bone broth, small fish (like sardines), shrimp, oysters and canned salmon (with bones).
  • Nut and seed sources include almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.

For drinks, my kids were just switched to water. I will sometimes fill a pitcher then add cucumber or oranges or strawberries to give it a “taste†or sometimes buy soda water already flavored i.e. lemon lime, etc. To my surprise, I did not get much pushback. I have recently started giving a few ounces of Kombucha…they really like that.

Same thing with cheese and yogurt…I just stopped buying it and offered nuts and seeds or olives or almond butter with celery, fruit, sliced cucumber, etc. as snacks. I also make kale chips for them. As noted above, kale is an excellent source of calcium. I was a bit nervous, because they are green and they look “healthyâ€, but my kids LOVE them. Here is a good recipe:

Chop kale into bite-sized pieces

Melt some coconut oil in a large glass bowl

Toss the kale into the glass bowl and toss until it is covered, yet not drenched in coconut oil

Sprinkle with sea salt

Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 30-35, or so minutes. I like mine brownish and a little crispy.

Cool and enjoy. You can add extra sea salt if you like.

At the end of the day, you buy the food in the house. If it isn't available, they won't be able to eat it. Simply buy and offer different options and eventually, they will forget. Out of sight, out of mind.

Hope this helps.

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We were lucky enough to have started this lifestyle a vegans, so our two-year-old son has never had dairy. He's had wayyy too much soy, though. We tried unsweetened almond milk and discovered he has an almond allergy. Upon finding whole 30, we switched him to coconut milk and he loves it. They do have unsweetened coconut milk in a carton, but it's very watered down, very low fat and doesn't taste great. Our son didn't like that. The full fat cans of coconut milk in the Asian section of the grocery store are the way to go. He loves it! We water it down ourselves and one can lasts a few days (or one day if we're drinking it too). I think giving it to him without watering it down could be a good yogurt substitute because it's thicker. As far as cheese, I think you'll just have to drop that one and provide him with other things he likes instead.

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Chiaya: not to get the thread off topic, but have you tried mixing coconut milk with mostly breast milk? I was able to offer my son things other than breast milk by putting such a small amount in the breast milk that I couldn't taste it myself, then very gradually increasing it.

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MGrady967 -

Honestly, this is one where you may just have to bite the bullet and live without replacements. My kids love cheese and yogurt, too, but we haven't found an acceptable replacement for them. My 2 and 4 year old both still ask for them, but they understand that those just aren't good options for us. You may just try talking with your kiddo and explaining that cheese and yogurt taste good, but they're not so good for our bodies (kind of like candy and cake - or whatever else would serve as an appropriate example).

You didn't mention whether you're looking to eliminate these foods as part of a Whole30, but you could also try to explain to him that you're doing an experiment to see how good your bodies feel without those foods. Enlist his help to think of the different ways his (or her) body feels great (strong, fast, happy, bendy...).

PS: Coconut cream works well enough with fruit to "replace" yogurt, but it's more like whipped cream than anything.

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For drinks, my kids were just switched to water. I will sometimes fill a pitcher then add cucumber or oranges or strawberries to give it a “taste†or sometimes buy soda water already flavored i.e. lemon lime, etc.

Same thing with cheese and yogurt…I just stopped buying it and offered nuts and seeds or olives or almond butter with celery, fruit, sliced cucumber, etc. as snacks. .

These are wonderful suggestions for some of my biggest problem spots. Thank you!

Now, if I can get out of the 'sandwiches for lunch' rut...

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Well thank you, glad I could help.

For lunches, my kids' boxes are usually various combinations of this:

Protein: deli meat (W30 approved), jerky, tuna or cooked chicken breast cubed

Fat: olives, almond butter, coconut flakes, nuts/seeds

Carbs: fruit, all fruit, although I limit the bananas, sliced cucumbers, celery, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, jicama w/lime, kale chips, apple sauce, raw spinach

It is an interesting transition, away from sandwiches, but the kids really like it. They often get asked why they don't eat bread and my 11 years spouts off about insulin spikes and lectins…cracks me up!

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Hi - I just wanted to thank everyone for the great ideas and suggestions. I'll definitely work these options into his diet as we move away from dairy in the house.

Robin - I especially like your "novel" suggestion of just talking to him about food and how it affects our body. :) Not surprising that a "Director of Communications" would suggest communicating with someone. I will give him a little more credit and ask him to join my health experiment. He's suffering with a lot of seasonal allergies and I'm hoping that steering him closer to Paleo will alleviate some of his congestion. Maybe this will be enough to convince him to drop dairy or at least to ease the transition when we stop buying it.

Thanks again to everyone for responding.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Both of ours (4 1/2 and 3) drink water or almond milk. Instead of ice cream they have coconut milk dessert or sorbet. They don't miss cheese. Instead of yogurt, I sometimes make them a smoothie (banana or avocado + almond butter + fruit + splash of almond milk). To be honest, it was easier with the younger one who never cared for dairy. The hubby makes Andy Deas' Coconut/Apple Pudding, which is also a good yogurt sub... http://primalbodybuilding.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/andy-deas-coconutapple-pudding-a-couple-of-tfods/

One day I was eating sardines in olive oil. They came over and asked for a bite, and before I knew it the can was gone. I thought kids weren't supposed to like that kind of thing! Anyway, as Carie Green noted above, sardines are a good source of calcium. Also ++ on the kale chips!

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