My 2 year old toddler does not like milk. He hardly has 100 ml throughout the day. How can I give healthy replacements to milk to ensure he gets enough calcium and protein?
Although milk is a good source of protein , calcium and fat and most toddlers like having milk, you need not fret if your toddler does not want to have those 2 glasses of milk every day.
Also, there is an increasing incidence of children who are lactose intolerant. These children cannot take milk as it causes allergy.
Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is an excellent way to replace milk. My daughter refused to have milk, but she would gobble up little pieces of homemade paneer sauteed in a little ghee.
If your kid likes paneer, give that as curry or snacks. Grate it and mix it in his favourite dishes. You can also knead it with flour and make chapatis or paranthas out of it. Paneer is also easier to digest and can be given to children who are intolerant to plain milk.
If your baby likes cheese, you can add that in his food. Add it to sandwiches, pasta, noodles. You can even add grated cheese to khichdi or dals or various soups. A slice of processed cheese is supposed to have similar nutrition as one glass of milk, though it has a lot of salt.
You can give curd to your kid. Add fruits to make them into smoothies. Curd can be given in the form of curd rice, which my daughter loves or can be turned into shrikhand, fruit yogurt, lassi, buttermilk and so many other delicious options.
Flavour the milk with fruits
If your child doesn’t like plain milk, another way of giving milk is by making shakes. Add your kid’s favourite fruits like mango, banana , strawberry etc. to make it more colourful, tastier as well as healthier. You can add any seasonal fruits.
This works specially well in summer when a chilled glass of delicious milkshake is always welcome.
Lentils for protein
Also, remember that protein can be had from various other sources. Eggs, fish, chicken are all rich sources of protein. If you are vegetarian, pulses or dal are full of protein. Serve a wide variety of lentils. Tur dal (pigeon peas), moong dal (green gram), chickpeas, rajma (kidney beans) , masoor (red lentils) etc are all rich sources of protein.
Add Soy to baby’s diet
Soyabean is one of the richest vegetarian source of protein. You can use the bean or soya granules or nuggets as found in market. Tofu or soy-cheese is also a great source of calcium as well as protein.
Calcium is also found in soy products.
Add Nuts & Nut milks to diet
Nuts are very nutritious and milks like almond milk, coconut milk can be used in baby’s meals instead. If you child does not like whole nuts, you can make powders or make laddoos.
Add ghee/ butter to replace fat from milk
Whole milk also provides fat for growth of toddlers and fat is essential for healthy growth of toddlers. It can be easily sourced from cheese, a little butter on sandwich, ghee in baby’s food.
Most curries have some oil. Do not go overboard when adding ghee or butter in baby’s food as it may cause problems in the long run.
Replace the fluids from milk
One more thing to remember is that milk also provides fluids which are important for body, so ensure your kid gets enough water. You can serve soups, diluted freshly squeezed juice to your kid.
Dark Green and leafy vegetables
Dark Green and leafy vegetables are rich in calcium, so add vegetables like spinach and broccoli to your toddler’s diet.
If your baby is allergic to milk / lactose intolerant, you must consult the baby’s doctor. Doctor will prescribe the appropriate diet and supplements needed in such a case. But as you can see, you can ensure that your baby gets enough protein and calcium even if he or she is not crazy about milk.