As a Mum of dairy and soya allergic girls – I do have occasional days of despair when I think about my girls calcium intake. Calcium is a mineral that is important at all ages for strong bones and teeth. The main sources of calcium in the diet are cow’s milk and dairy products. So when you can’t serve dairy or soya you have to work a bit harder to come up with calcium rich food. Out of guilt I resolve to raise the bar of the catering options in our house and try to provide three meals with a reasonable amount of calcium in.
Going through a list of good non-dairy calcium is depressing. Sardines, kale, white beans, tinned salmon with bones and kale to name but a few. I wish I could tell you my girls favorite meal is sardines on toast with a white bean and kale salad but I would be lying. They love things in breadcrumbs (breadcrumb sardines anyone?!) and Spaghetti Bolognese. They are suspicious of most green foods and any foods with bits in it.
So imagine how excited I became when I found chia seeds! Bear with me here – they are an excellent source of calcium as well as protein, fibre, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. They can be incorporated into cakes and baked goods without loosing any of their nutritional value.
So here is my recipe for Chocolate Banana bread with chia seeds. They love it and I am happy knowing I have managed to sneak some goodness into a much loved family favorite. It is also a great way of using up black bananas and half eaten bananas which I store in a bag in the fridge until I have a spare few minutes to bake.
Chocolate banana bread recipe – dairy free, soya free, gluten free
125g DF/SF margarine I use Pure Sunflower margarine
150g demera sugar can substitute caster sugar instead
2 x eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 or 4 ripe bananas (3 or 4it seems to make no difference to end result)
100g Dark chocolate chips (soya and dairy free)
75g Doves farm gluten free plain flour (if not g/f use 105g of plain flour and skip corn/maize flour)
30g Maize flour or Cornflour Ocado stock Doves Farm Maize flour
40g Ground Almonds
2 tsp Gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 170C or 325F
Line a loaf tin with baking parchment
Cream together the margarine and sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
Then add the bananas to the mixture.
Add the chocolate chips. Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
Then add the flour, maize of corn flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda . Mix well and pour into loaf tin.
Bake for about 45min to an hour. If doing muffins bake for around 15/2omins.
My rough calculations estimate that each slice delivers about 30mg of calcium. In this recipe the Chia seeds, almonds and egg all provide calcium. 30mg of calcium is roughly the equivalent of 50g of raw kale! If you really want to boost the calcium intake serve with 100ml of calcium fortified non dairy milk. This would boost the calcium value to 150mg which is nearly a half of the daily requirements of my three year old and a third of my 5 year olds daily requirements.
I should also mention at this point that your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. The best source of Vitamin D comes from sunshine where its absorbed through the skin. In the absence of sunshine Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and some margarines. So if you worried about your child’s calcium intake just make sure they getting a good dose of Vitamin D too.
Daily Calcium requirements for children according to NHS guidelines
1-3 year old 350mg
4-6 year old 450mg
7-10 year old 550mg
Here is a link to a very useful document from Guys and St Thomas NHS trust which gives a useful list of non dairy calcium rich foods.Follow