It is clear from dental studies done in the early 20th century that high carbohydrate diets, especially those rich in refined sugars are poor dietary choices for bones and teeth.

Breastfeeding is BestThat breast-feeding your baby is the best nutrition possible is accepted by almost everyone and provides your infant with everything they need to thrive. Being a good provider for your baby requires you to be well nourished yourself. As during your pregnancy, through your milk, your baby shares what you eat including the spices, onions and garlic you eat. Keep that in mind.

Breast-feeding is not for everyone. If that is your situation, start your baby off right by feeding her or him the best foods you can. Avoid giving your infant bad foods from the beginning. This means preserved foods except of course baby food, and processed foods except again baby food, what choice does one have?

When they are older and you have to figure out what to feed them, now is the time to avoid the prepared, preserved fast foods. Pastries, candy, cookies, and confections are to be avoided. I know peanut butter and jelly is the common refuge of frazzled mothers everywhere but do not go there. I am sure the path to dietary ruin is strewn with discarded Peter Pan and Smuckers containers. Even worse, you will start eating the left over sandwiches and get fat! Almost every mom finds herself doing this. It’s amazing. Someone should write a book!

Eating Healthy Starts EarlyIf you and I mean you start them out eating these sweet foods, it is hard to get them back on track to a healthy diet. The reason is simple. The sweet things taste “good” to the baby and “good” is all they care about. We are hard wired to seek out high calorie, high fat, and high protein foods by nature. It is in our genes and none of us can help it. If we let these foods that taste so good crowd out simpler foods that are much healthier for our child they will. Once someone is hooked on these addictive foods, and don’t doubt it for a minute these foods are habituating psychologically, it is hard to get them to eat healthy real food. If they never eat the addictive foods in the first place, they never develop the taste for them until they are older. By then, they have become use to eating healthy foods and hopefully prefer that way of eating. At the very least they know the difference and have a good model to draw upon in the future if they choose to. At some point it will be totally up to them. What they eat now though is totally up to you and is your responsibility and in my opinion duty to make the right choice for them. It would be cruel to let a child decide their own food choices even if they could. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was child neglect to do so because inevitably they would make poor in most cases unhealthy choices.

Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium Rich Foods

Food Item Quantity Calcium Mg Calories
Almond Milk unsweetened 1 cup 450 40
Sardines 3 oz 372 175
Soy milk unsweetened 1 cup 301 80
Collard Greens, cooked 1 cup 252 65
Oysters 1 cup 226 160
Wild Alaska Canned Salmon 3 oz 167 120
Kale 3 oz 150 50
Spinach, cooked ½ cup 146 30
Broccoli 1 cup 136 40
Soybeans, dry 1/3 cup 130 225
Ocean perch 3 oz 116 103
Cowpeas, dry ½ cup 105 80
Shrimp 3 oz 98 100
White beans, dry 1/3 cup 96 153
Okra ½ cup 88 26
Blue crab 3oz 86 84
Beet Greens ½ cup 82 19
Almonds 1 oz 75 165
Cabbage, cooked 1 cup 75 12
Tofu 4 oz 75 165
Turnip Greens, cooked 1 cup 75 30
Bok Choy 1 cup 74 9
Dandelion greens ½ cup 74 17
Rainbow trout 1.5 oz 73 144

The green leafy vegetable group, beans, nuts, and fish are all rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamins, and fiber. These foods are the foundation of a real food healthy diet that promoted true health and wellness in every regard. These simple foods are delicious, versatile, and omnipresent, can be grown in your own garden, or caught in local rivers or oceans if you are so inclined, are inexpensive, and absolutely guaranteed to be the best food to eat to become and maintain health. By starting your child off right eating these foods and you are establishing a solid nutritional foundation that addresses all the dietary issues that affect health today from obesity to osteoporosis and everything in between.

The experts agree that children and adolescents need about 1,200 mg of elemental calcium a day from all sources. This should be from food, not supplements. I have provided you with a list of non-dairy foods above that are the richest in calcium and lowest in calories. There are too many calories in our modern diet and for this reason a smart way to eat is to favor foods that have a low glycemic index meaning that they have more water and fiber and less carbohydrates, fat, and protein content. It turns out that natural real foods with a low glycemic index are often those with high contents of essential minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin K and carotene to name just a few.

I suggest getting most of your calcium and magnesium for these non-dairy sources but some from dairy too. I recommend one serving of Greek yogurt each day for the kids, sweetened with fruit and berries plus a little Stevia and/or honey. Most Greek yogurt products contain 5 probiotics species and that is great for the gut Mircobiota and that of the perineum and vagina. One serving of dairy provides 250 mg of calcium per cup.

By teaching your child to eating healthy early in life, you are being a loving and caring parent. While it is not easy, the sooner you start the easier it is. If the child has never been the McDonalds they do not know what they are missing. Don’t worry about them being culturally deprived, they will pass through the golden arches soon enough and please don’t scold them for it either, as Americans it is a right of passage. Rather, fix them a “to die for” hamburger at home, use lean sirloin burger adding 1 tsp of coconut butter per lb of beef to the meat. Cook the burger on the grill. No fast food can beat that. Children are smart, do the right thing and have faith and confidence in them to do the same. After all whose kids are they anyway?

Vitamin D Nutrition
Almost no one gets enough vitamin D from the sun and if they were they were getting an unhealthy dose of UV radiation. Foods do not have enough vitamin D in them naturally. Some foods including milk and bread are fortified with low doses of vitamin D but not nearly enough. The best option for everyone is to take a supplement. This is inexpensive, easy to do, widely available, and safe if done properly. I realize this violates my no supplements rule for kids but there really are not a good option here. Do not buy expensive vitamin D or prescription vitamin D. Those are bad plays. Buy vitamin D3 in clear oil filled gel cap from the grocery store, drug store, and wholesale club. I buy mine at Costco, Kirkland brand vitamin D3. Kroger and Publix have great store brands too that are the same and just as inexpensive. Infants once on food that weigh less than 50 lb can be given 1000 IU every other day. Simply piece the oil filled capsule with a pin and squeeze the vitamin oil into a spoon with a little food and feed it to them. It tastes good. Kids need 1,000 IU every day; adolescents and adults need 2,000 IU. Underweight people need less and overweight people need more. For them, have your doctor check their vitamin D level. Overweight and obese need a lot more vitamin D and they need their levels checked too to find the right dose. The ideal range for everyone of all ages is between 40 and 60 ng/ml. Visit the Vitamin and Mineral section for more.