Sunday, December 6, 2015

When dairy is not an option, get creative!

When Dairy Is Not An Option, Get Creative!

 Indulge in Milk Alternatives
Nutrition-wise, not all non-dairy milk alternatives are created equally. Calcium-fortified soy milk often comes out on top due to, its nutrient-profile being similar to milk. Given the controversy surrounding soy consumption, the second best milk would be fortified hemp milk. If neither of these interest you, your other option is to forgo the milk alternatives. 
Reason being, options such as almond, rice, coconut and 7-grain milks contain little protein, and often laden with water.  Nevertheless, read the ingredient list, compare prices and the Nutrition Facts to help select beverages that provide ample amounts of  calcium, protein, vitamin D and B12 per serving.
 Suggested ReadingCommercial Non-Dairy 'Milk' Substitutes

② Have A Glass Of Fortified Orange Juice
Calcium and vitamin D-fortified orange juice is a fruity way to meet calcium and vitamin D
needs. It is essential to choose an orange juice that contains both vitamin D and calcium because vitamin D is required for the body absorb calcium.
As such, always choose unsweetened or 100% fortified orange juice (no-sugar added) and limit consumption to 6 fl.oz for children and 8 fl. oz for adults in a sitting. 
Here are some brands to look out for Tropicana Pure Premium , Florida' Natural Orange Juice.

 Have A Bowl of Fortified ready-to- eat Cereal
Fortified cereals are a great way to get the micro-nutrients normally present in dairy since most can be eaten dry as a mid-morning snack or mid-afternoon snack. Seeing, that this category of food can be hidden sources of added sugar and sodium. Always read the Nutrition facts panel choose cereals that provide at least 10% Daily Value (%DV) for vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin. Choose those than contain at least 2 grams fibre and less than 8 grams sugars per serving listed.

Adopt A Green Veggie.
Dark, green vegetables are loaded with nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium etc. Admittedly, the taste of dark green vegetables may be a turn off for many, as some can be bitter. Nevertheless, experiment with them to find at least 3 ways you and the family will enjoy them. 

For example: 
i) Kale can be tolerable when baked- kale chips
ii) Spinach can be tolerable when added to one-pot dishes-spinach rice
iii) Steamed Broccoli can be tolerable when eaten with hummus- recipe
iv) Dasheen leaves are tolerable when eaten as callaloo

Also vary the types of greens consumed. 
Options: Beet greens, dasheen leaves, okro, kale, lettuce, spinach, bhaji, mustard greens, broccoli and patchoi.
Food preparation options: smoothies, sautéed, baked, dairy-free quiches, fresh salads,  desserts-pudding, brownies, cakes, breads etc. 
The poster above highlights some calcium rich green vegetables. 
⑤ Have A Handful of Nuts & Seeds 
Like cereals, nuts and seeds are packed with the micro-nutrients normally present in dairy. Nuts and seeds can be toasted, lightly salted and added to meals or eaten as a snack. To get the maximum benefits from these tiny nutrient-powerhouses, be sure to stick to 1 ounce (28 gram) serving a day.

Keep in mind, 100 calories worth of nuts is roughly 18 grams. To put this into perspective check out the following Pinterest Board for images 100 Calories of Nuts: A Visual Guide

Additional Reading
Berkeley Wellness. 2014. Calcium-Fortified Foods: What You Should Know.
Andon et al. 1996. Calcium absorption from apple and orange juice fortified
Tangpricha. 2003. Fortification of orange juice with vitamin D: a novel approach for enhancing vitamin D nutritional health.

Thank you for reading! 
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