Dairy Is The Way
This should be quite obvious but it is quite important, especially if your children are at a younger age. This need for milk-based products like yogurt, cheese, custard, and regular milk is extremely important during the formative early years that your child’s bones are developing. From a few months old to three years, you should regularly be incorporating dairy into their diets and getting about 200 to 300 mg a day for the first year, with an increase of up to 700mg a day by the end of the first three years.
Add Meats and Leafy Greens
There’s nothing better than bok choy, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli for your child’s diet. Besides the obvious plethora of nutritional benefits that can be derived from these plants, they are also full of calcium nutrients that are ideal for your growing child. These are also a great and easy addition to any lunch and dinner plate. Try adding fish as the major protein ingredient for lunch and dinner. Fresh salmon is ideal but canned tuna and sardines are also excellent sources of calcium if you are looking to make a quick lunch.
Snacking and Munching
Put down the processed foods like cookies and chips and focus on calcium delivering alternatives like brazil nuts and almonds. Snack time is a big opportunity to get calcium into your children’s diet. Instead of munching on a sugary snack, you can make trail mixes for them that include ingredients like almonds mixed raisins, you can even throw some milk chocolate pieces in the mix too!
What To Drink
By reducing soft-drink intake in your children, like juice, and having them drink water or a dairy-based drink instead, you can easily add to their recommended calcium intake. Start practicing this in the home as well by limiting your own consumption of soft drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. The long term benefits you obtain will far outweigh the short term gratification you get from a craving. Plus, you’ll be setting a good example for them early on.
Calcium intake can be a little different if you have some dietary restrictions, however, it is still possible to get a healthy amount of calcium even if you do have to make concessions with your child’s diet. Non-dairy foods like oranges, figs, sweet potatoes, and most grains are high in calcium.
Forcing your child to consume regular dairy products when they are lactose intolerant can result in diarrhea and severe cramps. Instead, try incorporating calcium-fortified soy or almond milk into their diet. Additionally, you can increase the intake of those leafy greens and meats in order to compensate for the lack of calcium intake through dairy products.
Incorporating A Vegan Diet
In the past, there weren’t many options for vegans to have access to much calcium intake due to dairy restrictions. These days, however, there are a plethora of dietary solutions that can be substituted in. For example, you can replace the fish in some of your meals with ingredients like Tofu or Tempeh. These meat substitutions are an excellent source of calcium and are low in saturated fats. Even if you don’t commit to a vegan diet, it can be healthy for your family to have a vegan meal a few times a week.
As you can see, there are several ways of incorporating calcium into your child’s diet whether they have food restrictions or not. Additionally, educating them on the importance of their food consumption and how it affects their development can have a marked impact later on in their life and can lead to a lifetime of healthy calcium consumption. For more information about how you can improve the oral health of your child, contact us today.