Many of us grew up following the government’s food guide, which suggested that we drink milk daily and include dairy products for protein intake and to meet our calcium needs. Today, the guide recommends water as the drink of choice as we know that many humans cannot digest lactose. Undigested lactose can lead to IBS, bloating, discomfort and skin issues. We simply do not have the enzyme, lactase, to break down these milk sugars like cows do.
The food industry, nutritionists, naturopaths, even dieticians, realize the effects of dairy on digestion and the alternative flood gates have opened. Almond, oat, rice, hemp, cashew and soy show up as milk and cheese today, and perfectly satisfy the needs of the dairy-free consumer.
We also have learned that dairy is not our only source of calcium. Including foods like chickpeas, tofu, kale, spinach, parsley, salmon with bones, and broccoli throughout your week will assure you meet your calcium needs.
Try this meal plan for a week’s worth of meals with calcium benefits, sans the milk. To reduce cooking and ease the stress of grocery shopping and planning, we suggest batch cooking and putting the meals on rotation. Lunches are often last night’s dinner, maybe repurposed into a wrap, added to a bed of greens, or warmed up as is.
Breakfast 1: Jumbo Chickpea Pancake (vegan). Add blueberries, maple syrup and walnuts for a sweet breakfast, or avocado and hummus for a savoury one. Make a big batch and freeze until you need them.
Breakfast 2: Paleo Mushroom Muffins . Make a double batch and freeze them.
Dinner 1: Cauliflower & Chickpea Tagine with Couscous (gluten-free, vegan)
Dinner 2: Baked Salmon with Dill & Lemon, Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar, Whipped Yams with a splash of Oat Milk and Sea Salt. Make extra salmon to add to a salad for lunch the next day.
Dinner 3: Chopped Thai Chicken Salad. Add broccoli for extra calcium and substitute tofu for chicken to make this dish vegan.
Snack : Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Balls. Make a double batch and freeze until you need them. They are delicious straight out of the freezer!
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