Daily calcium needs are hard to meet, especially for kids. Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium, but the challenge here is to make kids consume these foods.
Dairy, one of the five essential food groups that make up a healthy diet, plays a vital part in most of the people’s daily dietary consumption. World acclaimed nutrition organizations recommend dairy consumption of 2 cups for children aged 2 to 3 years, 2 ½ cups for children aged between 4 and 8 years and 3 cups for children aged 9 years and above. Yogurt is an excellent source of dairy which is a healthy, tasty and versatile food to add to your child’s meals and snacks.
Initially, kids might be hesitant to try yogurt because of its unique taste and texture. It is no great science to make kids consume yogurt in a merry way. All it takes is a little innovation and creativity to make it a pleasant experience for your little ones. Assume the yogurt to be a blank canvas and yourself as the artist who is going to create an amazing craft out of it.
Make a Prudent Choice
Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties of yogurt that are plain or flavored. Each cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt supplies us with 30 to 45 percent of the daily calcium requirements, giving a nutritional bang for our buck. One cup of frozen yogurt provides us with just 10 percent of our daily required calcium intake. Yogurts contain some quantity of sugar naturally, but take care to choose yogurts that contain less than 15 grams per serving. Sweetness can be infused through other simple methods.
The Smooth Smoothie Way
Smoothies are a delicious way to add yogurt in your diet. The perfect way is to let your kids create their own smoothies with different fruits and toppings. To make a smoothie, start with fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat or fat-free yogurt (flavored or unflavored), ice and a dairy-based liquid like fat-fat milk. You can customize your smoothie with nut butters, vegetables, seeds or other flavorings depending on your family’s taste. Finally, mix everything together using a blender.
The same appeal of a smoothie station can be applied on parfaits too! Parfaits are created with layering fruits, low-fat or fat-free yogurt and a grain topping such as whole grain cereal or granola in separate serving cups.
Kids love to brand their creations with stylish names! Let them have fun in creating their healthy smoothie or parfait, noting down the ingredients and finally naming them. This creates a sort of ownership to the dish and can be tried again in the future.
Treat them with icy treats for a quick and simple snack. With ice pop molds, any yogurt can be used as a base. Try flavored yogurt for a simple ice pop, Greek yogurt for extra protein or you can even use leftover smoothie.
Rather than treating yourself to junks like chips or cookies, fruit dips are a healthy snack to increase fruit consumption. Mix 4 cups of yogurt with 1 cup of cream cheese or nut butter. Add honey, granola or berries and serve it with apple slices.
Be smart to substitute half the sour cream in recipes or toppings with non-fat plain Greek yogurt. You can bet on the fact that your kids will never be able to differentiate the taste.
Choose any way, but wisely. Work together with your kids in such a way that they meet their daily dairy needs with fun all along. This helps to gain knowledge about the food they eat while building strong bones and teeth for the future. Read more on meeting your required daily dairy requirements at the website www.firsteatright.com.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.