These days it seems like the natural progression for kids, after being weened off breast milk or formula, is to move to cow’s milk. Children need a certain amount of fat and calcium to replace the breast milk or formula that they were used to getting everyday so cow’s milk seems like the natural choice. The problem with cow’s milk is that many kids are showing a sensitivity to it, which manifests itself in the form of chronic ear infections, eczema, constipation, constant runny nose, stomach aches, etc. (click here for more information on the side affects of dairy in children).
Also, the cow’s milk that you buy in the grocery store has been pasteurized, which means it’s free from bacteria, but that also means many of the health benefits of raw milk (enzymes, vitamins & minerals) have been destroyed in the process.
On a side note, Greek yogurt, kefir, hard white cheeses and goat’s cheese & milk are dairy products that are easier to digest because of their high content of healthy bacteria, enzymes, and lower lactose content.
Toddlers from the age of 1-4 need approximately 30-40 grams of fat per day. My sister’s 1-year old daughter doesn’t handle dairy very well so I did some research and presented her with a list of diary free alternatives for kids that are high in healthy fats and a good source of calcium:
Sources of fat:
– 1/2 medium avocado = 15g fat
– 1 tbsp. coconut oil = 14g fat
– 1 cup goat milk = 10g fat
– 1 tbsp. almond butter = 9.5g fat
– 1 cup lactose-free whole milk = 8g fat
– 1 large boiled egg = 5.3g fat
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk = 2.5g fat (Silk brand is a good option)*
*Almond milk is higher in calcium than it is fat, and hemp milk is higher in fat than calcium – a combination of both would be a great option.
Sources of omega-3 poly-unsaturated fats:
– 1 tbsp. hemp oil = 14g fat
– 1 tbsp. flax oil = 14g fat
– 1 tsp. walnut oil = 4.5g fat
– 1 tbsp. hemp = 4g fat
– 1 tbsp. flax = 3g fat
– 1 tbsp. chia = 3g fat
Yes, pouring cow’s milk into a bottle may be easier than thinking of ways to incorporate these foods into your child’s diet, but if it means eliminating their symptoms, it’s worth it. An easy way to incorporate some of the suggestions above is in a smoothie; blend it up, and give that to your little one instead!
Baby Fat Smoothie
1 tbsp hemp oil = 14g fat
¼ avocado = 7g fat
½ tbsp. coconut oil = 7g fat
1-cup hemp milk = 5g fat
¼ cup blueberries
Water (add to desired consistency)
Blend and serve in a sippie cup 🙂
When it comes time to introduce my son to solids I’m going to avoid giving him cow’s milk, and stick to these healthy fat & calcium alternatives.