Sometimes an ice cream treat or a delicious glass of milkshake can leave a child complaining of a stomach ache and leave the parent wondering how to deal with it. In such cases, lactose intolerance is to blame. The signs of lactose intolerance in children often go unnoticed, but it is important that is gauged and taken care of by replacing the trigger foods with the right alternatives.
In children, lactose Intolerance means that their bodies do not produce an adequate amount of lactase, which is a natural enzyme in the digestive tract required to break down lactose. Lactose is made up of glucose and galactose and it is a sugar found in foods that many children love including milk, ice cream, cheese, and more.
We’ve often heard that toddlers and growing children need milk in their staple diet. However, the truth is that kids do not need “milk”, they need the key nutrients that milk contains. Dairy milk contains nutrients such as Vitamin D, Protein, Calcium and Fat that are essential for a kid’s growth and development. However, there are plenty of milk alternatives in the form of plant-based milk that provide the same nutrients as dairy milk to aid in the development of a growing child.
Plant-based milk should provide adequate nutrients as dairy milk, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, and calories, and it must be loaded with key nutrients like Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and Calcium. This is why Soy milk is preferred and recommended plant-based milk for growing children due to its properties and nutrients.
One cup of unsweetened soy milk contains 5-6g of protein, which is a comparable amount to cow’s milk. It also offers 3gm carbohydrates, 4gm fat, and 80 calories per serving. Although the fat content is relatively low as compared to cow’s milk, it is the closest fat content to all other plant-based alternatives. Soy milk is preferred as it doesn’t have lactose.
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According to Ushakiran Sisodia, Head Dietician, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, “Soy milk is a good and healthy milk alternative, and it is the most preferred plant-based milk alternative for children who may be lactose intolerant. Along with soy milk, children require a balanced diet which has enough cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, fats and oil seeds.”
While the others are more suitable for different purposes and are fortified with variants of key nutrition, soy milk which is replete with vitamin D and calcium carbonate, is the healthiest plant-based milk alternative for toddlers and growing children due to its balanced nutritional profile.