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Your Child is Dairy-Free, but what about Calcium?

Chia Pudding

At first, when I was told that we needed to completely eliminate dairy from Gracie’s diet (probably for always) I was very concerned.  It’s pretty well known that children need appropriate calcium intake to ensure they grow strong bones and teeth. However if your child has food allergies/intolerances you need to look for alternatives.

Below shows the daily intake requirements for children of different ages:

Babies 0–6 months approx. 210mg (if breastfed)
approx. 350mg (if bottle fed)
Babies 7–12 months 270mg
Children 1–3 years 500mg
Children 4–8 years 700mg
Children 9–11 years 1,000mg
Adolescents 12–18 years (including pregnant and breastfeeding young women) 1,300mg

So what other foods are high in calcium?

  • Dark Leafy greens: 95mg in 1 cup of Kale
  • Oranges: 65mg in 1 fruit
  • Broccoli: 45mg in 1 cup
  • Seaweed: 126mg in 1 cup
  • Sesame seeds: 126mg in 1 cup
  • Almonds: 72mg in 1/4 cup (20 nuts)
  • Fortified soy, nut or oat milk: 300mg in 1 cup
  • Fish (with bones).  402mg in 1/2 cup of canned Salmon

Grace is currently at the age where she is testing boundaries and that typically means she can often refuse to eat the foods I make her. Perseverance is the key, I ‘try and pack a lot of goodness in her food,  whether that means me putting extra green veggies in a meatloaf or a sprinkle of sesame seeds over her food.

Simple ways I boost Gracie’s intake:

  • Fruit Smoothies made from Coconut Vitasoy (enriched with calcium)
  • Chia puddings made with Coconut Vitasoy (enriched with calcium)
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds over her food
  • Kale Chips
  • Salmon Patties

I’ve posted below a simple but tasty recipe for Salmon Patties which are very high in calcium.  If you look through my recipe index you’re find some other great ideas too.

If you make any of my recipes tag: #HGGfood so I can find you!

Salmon Fish Cakes

Salmon Patties

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 160g tin red salmon
  • 1 large sweet potato grated
  • ½ brown onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs spelt flour
  • 3 tbs olive oil, to fry



Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well


Roll into small patties


Gently fry in batches and then reduce to a low heat until cooked through.


Instead of using Spelt flour you can replace to Gluten-Free to meet special dietary requirements.






How to boost your dairy-free child's calcium intake through food and diet.




As there’s only so much you can write on Instagram, I wanted to finally introduce ourselves properly and where our journey began.

I’ve actually written this piece so many times (and in my head!), it’s actually quite emotional and therapeutic in some ways to share our story and journey so far.

So here we go…..

I had an amazing pregnancy with Gracie, no complications apart from needing to have my thyroid levels monitored as I have Hashimotos autoimmune disease – thankfully my then functioning thyroid liked being pregnant and my levels were always within range.

Unfortunately nothing could have prepared me for the horrific labour, delivery and year afterwards, to say it was probably the hardest time I’ve experienced physically and emotionally is an understatement.

Because of the serious medical complications I suffered from, and the time it took to get diagnosed and treated, I never produced enough breast-milk (yes I tried everything including natural alternatives, medication and lactation consultant to no avail). Therefore Gracie was mixed fed up until 7 months old and then exclusively formula fed until 12 months.

Up until then there were no signs or symptoms from what we could tell that she had any issues at all.  However all this changed when we transitioned her to cows milk…

At first it was her skin, she started to break out in bright red eczema patches in a few places and then more and more popped up, all over her body.  I took Grace to our local GP who initially said she would “grow out” of the eczema and that her skin “wasn’t bad enough” to warrant being referred on, much to my frustration!  A couple of weeks later I returned as nothing had changed and this time the Dr suggested that I could do a stop giving Grace fresh cow’s milk and to give her toddler formula for a few weeks to see if it made a difference.

As I was desperate at that point, I stupidly tried for a couple of weeks.  It didn’t make much difference to her skin but I feel this is when I started to notice she was becoming constipated.

After being fobbed off, getting no-where and poor Gracie’s situation getting worst I started to do my own research.   I was able to locate a holistic paediatrician who kicked-started getting her on the right path and my huge learning curve on gut health.

Unfortunately we got to the point where Gracie’s progress started to plateau and as time past I became increasingly frustrated and decided to start researching again to find someone/a way to get her issues resolved.

As I started my search for another doctor to get us back on track, I decided to get Grace tested for food intolerances.  She had previously had a range of blood tests done (allergy, vitamin deficiencies, FBC etc) and nothing of consequence had showed up – much to my frustration to get answers!

Within a week we got the results back – to my horror over 30 foods had a reading from slight to strong reaction.  As we thought, Cow’s Milk came top of the list, however more surprisingly rice came up with quite a high reading.  At this point Grace had been gluten-free for quite sometime and the majority of gluten-free products are made with rice flour – finally it was starting to make sense why we couldn’t get on top of her getting better.

Around the sametime I happened to stumble across a post on a Facebook Mothers’ group about a fantastic Integrative Paediatrician, I couldn’t make the appointment quick enough.

The Doctor worked like no other I had ever come across.  She told us that we needed to immediately stop all forms of dairy and basically all the other foods that had shown up in the results, it all needed to be eliminated to help her gut heal.

We were told that she had Leaky Gut Syndrome and that dairy was most likely the root cause of it.

As well as cutting out all these foods, we would need to give Grace a variety of different supplements to assist in building her gut flora up again, reduce the inflammation and to get her bowels functioning again as they were currently in a very sluggish state.

So where are we today?

Grace’s eczema has virtually disappeared and her skin texture has completely changed, her allergy shiners under her eyes have gone! Her gut is a million times better than it was and she no longer longer suffers from constant tummy discomfort and cries when she needs to poo (my poor baby!).

We still have some way to go, but for now we are thankful we are on the right track.  Some weeks it’s one step forward and two steps back but this is our journey and I know we will get there to heal Gracie’s gut.