Thursday, May 22, 2008

Are Your Kids Getting Enough Calcium (and Chocolate Pudding)?

choc pudding eating

Kids need calcium to build strong bones and teeth. And as much as they might wish it, chicken nuggets just ain't gonna cut it.

Here are some facts about kids, calcium, and bone health:
How can you ensure that your kids build strong bones and teeth?
  • Make sure they consume their needed amount of calcium every day through well-balanced meals. Click here to find out your child's calcium needs from birth to age 18.
  • Serve a healthy breakfast. Kid favorites such as pancakes, French toast, and waffles can be made with whole wheat flour and calcium-fortified milk or soy milk. Plus, did you know that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better on standardized tests?
  • Serve vitamin D enriched milk, which helps the body absorb calcium.
  • If your child is lactose-intolerant, then make sure he/she gets enough calcium from non-dairy sources, such as calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice as well as lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
  • Encourage them to get some physical activity for 30-60 minutes a day.
  • Make sure they see their doctor regularly.
Remember, building strong bones early in life helps prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Many thanks to all of you who have submitted entries for Beautiful Bones. We have an amazing array of calcium-rich dishes from breakfast to dessert. Would you like to participate? You have until May 31st, and can see the details here.

Now for the chocolate pudding...

When I was kid there was nothing better than coming home from school, opening the refrigerator, and seeing those old-fashioned ice cream dessert glasses filled with Mom's chocolate pudding, bananas, and Graham Crackers. Cool, creamy, and soothing, just what any kid could use after a long day at school. Plus it's low in fat and high in bone-building calcium, vitamin D and protein.

I make pudding with soy milk for me and skim milk for Jeff, and both always come out satisfyingly thick and creamy. Even though there are no children in our house, every time I eat this pudding, I feel like a kid again.

choc pudding 2 cups

Mom's Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers

Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

This recipe also works well with vanilla or banana pudding partnered with Vanilla Wafers (my brother Paul's childhood favorite). You could also mix in some shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or Cool Whip--whatever makes your little one smile.

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups soy milk (or skim milk)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8-10 low-fat graham crackers
1 large banana or 2 small ones, sliced

Optional garnishes:
toasted coconut shreds
chopped roasted peanuts
Cool Whip

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup of milk, whisking until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Add the second cup of milk and salt, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Lower heat, cooking pudding for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pudding from heat for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate chips. Lightly whisk one egg with vanilla extract and slowly add to the pudding, whisking constantly. (Removing it from the heat will prevent the egg from cooking). Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until thick, stirring several times. Remove from heat.

Assemble 4 serving dishes. Place a layer of bananas on the bottom of each dish, then top with some pudding, then graham crackers, and repeat. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with your choice of toppings.

Here are some other high-calcium recipes your kids might like:
Ivy thinks my blog is yummy! Thank you, dear Ivy, for bringing a big smile to my face. Here are more yummy blogs:
  • Anamika: Her cakes are works of art.
  • Linda : I'd love to bake in the kitchen with her.
  • Nicisme: I get a sugar high looking at her sweets.
  • Patricia: I become the Cookie Monster when I visit her blog.
I'm also sending a warm and fuzzy hug to Amy and Deeba for giving me the I Love You This Much Award. Amy and Deeba are always generous with spreading the love and always manage to brighten my day. Allow me to share this award with all of you!

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