Are your kids getting enough calcium?

Calcium is an essential mineral for children's development and growth. It's important that children are provided with a calcium-rich diet from early on since this is when more than 99 per cent of the body's calcium is laid in to build strong teeth and bones. 

To ensure they maintain greater bone mass in adulthood, we should encourage children to eat foods high in calcium such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Children, especially girls, who do not consume enough calcium during their growing years, are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.

The recommended daily calcium intake for toddlers is around 500mg of calcium a day. This could be made up of 100g yoghurt, a cube of cheese and 1/2 cup full fat milk.  

Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt are the obvious choices as they are among the richest and most significant sources of calcium you can add to a child's diets. Just one cup of milk provides 300mg of calcium and 40g of cheddar cheese provides 303mg calcium. Milk is also a good source of phosphorus and magnesium that helps the body absorb and use calcium more effectively.

But what if your kids can't or won't eat enough dairy foods to get the calcium they need? Try adding some of these calcium-rich foods to their diet:

Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Below are some alternate food sources of calcium.

Food                       Amount                   Calcium (mg)

Almonds                     15                                 40

Broccoli                    1 cup                              45

Cooked cabbage     1/2 cup                           239

Edamame                1 cup                                98        

Eggs                            2                                   50

Hummus                1/2 cup                               60

Salmon, w/ bones - canned        1/2 cup        402                

Tahini (sesame butter)        2 Tbs                    180

Orange - medium             1                               65

Beans, baked                1/2 cup                        60

Bok choy - cooked           1/2 cup                    80

Kale - cooked                1/2 cup                        90

Sesame seeds             1 tbs                               51