Fortified plant based milks! Does your child need a fortified non-dairy milk? If so, which one should you choose for babe and why? Here’s what you need to know about fortified vegan milk.
What is Fortification?
When introducing a plant milk to your child, we recommend prioritizing a fortified soy milk or pea milk.
But what does “fortification” mean?
Fortified foods have nutrients added to them that are not otherwise naturally-occurring in that food (or beverage).
For example, both cow’s milk and many plant based milks are fortified with vitamin D.
This is done to help boost vitamin and mineral intake with foods that most of us already eat every day, like a plant milk for kids.
Why Choose a Fortified Plant Milk
We also know that you can get all the calcium you need on a whole foods plant-based diet, but that may be a little bit harder with smaller infant and toddler stomachs – and the selective eating phases that are common in this age range.
So, we think that a fortified plant based milk with both added calcium and vitamin D is a really good way to ensure that your child is getting all of these essential nutrients.
Note that you most likely won’t see the term “fortified” printed on the front of the milk carton, though.
Instead, you’ll want to turn over the packaging and take a look at the ingredient list or nutrition facts panel to see exactly what’s been added to it.
Does Your Baby Need a Fortified Plant Milk?
Depending on your child’s diet, they may not need a fortified milk. In other words, an unfortified plant milk may be just fine.
If you’re not sure how much calcium your child is getting in a day, we suggest tracking his or her nutrient intake for a few days to get a better idea.
You can do this by writing down the amounts of foods and beverages that are eaten and either manually adding up the amount of calcium in those servings OR using a free online calculator like Cronometer.
This can be done with other nutrients, too.
Having this baseline can help you decide how important it is to provide your babe a fortified milk.
Remember that not everyday is perfect, especially with pickier eaters. The average matters more than individual days, as nutrition is a long game.
A Note About Pea Milk Fortification in Canada
The pea milk brand Ripple is fortified in the United States with the nutrients discussed above.
However, we learned that this product is not currently fortified with calcium or vitamins A, D, and B12 in Canada.
Fortification regulations in Canada require that plant milks either contain every vitamin and mineral naturally present in cow’s milk, or have none at all.
Ripple made the decision to proceed without these fortifications due to specific manufacturing and distribution challenges at the time.
They have stated that they will continue monitoring these rules in Canada and potentially make changes in the future.
If you’re a parent in Canada looking for fortified pea milk, note that you may want to choose a fortified soy milk instead.
Fortified plant based milks are a great way to help your babe meet his or her nutrient needs for vitamins and minerals. Fortified non-dairy milks can pair well with meals and even be used in cooking and baking. And luckily there are plenty of fortified vegan milks to choose from. We recommend fortified soy milk or pea milk for kids.
Chime In: Does your baby drink fortified plant based milks? Which one(s) do you like most in your family?
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