Calcium is the mineral that helps a person’s body build strong bones. Calcium also keeps the nerves and muscles working, while also helping the heart stay healthy. Children are at a critical stage for building strong bones that will support them for the rest of their life, so make sure you’re including important sources of calcium in your kids’ diet!
Vegetables, particularly green vegetables, contain calcium. Children need between 1,000-1,300 mg of calcium per day. There are a variety of vegetables that contain high amounts of calcium. According to My Food Data, vegetables high in calcium include collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, and broccoli. Vegetables like okra, bok choy, and beet greens also contain significant amounts of calcium, but are less common for children to appreciate. Look for ways to creatively implement these leafy green vegetables into your child’s diet for a higher calcium intake.
For most, dairy is their most significant source of calcium. One cup of milk contains 310 mg of calcium along with other important nutrients like protein, vitamin D, and potassium. Stellar Kids says that children should drink around 1 to 2 cups of milk a day. Yogurt and cheese also provide high sources, around 300 mg per cup, of calcium. Dairy snacks you can give your child include yogurt parfaits, smoothies, cheese and crackers, and anything else they might enjoy. If your child is sensitive to dairy, there are soymilk products available that can help supplement their diet.
While dairy is a primary source for calcium, there is a surprising amount of this mineral found in nuts and seeds. Most notably are almonds. According to The Nourished Child, a quarter cup of almonds contains about 115 mg of calcium. Almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, and chia seeds all contain calcium. Proportioned out, they can be the perfect snack for your child, at home or on the go. Nuts also provide a great source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber for your growing child.
The eating habits of your child will be fundamental for their growth and health they experience for the rest of their life. If dairy products are not a suitable option for your child’s calcium intake, look for calcium fortified foods they can consume. Promote the growth of your child by boosting their diet with sources of calcium to help them be healthy and strong.
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