Them bones, them bones need calcium!
We only get one chance to build strong bones – when we are children and teenagers. Those who get enough calcium as children start their adult lives with the strongest possible bones, but more than that, calcium also plays an important role in dental health, keeping the nerves and muscles working and keeping the heart strong. Who knew a glass of milk packed such a healthy punch?
So, just how much calcium do children need? According to IrishHealth, children up to the age of 10 need 800mg calcium per day, and teenagers aged 11-17 need 1200mg per day. Where’s the best place to get it? Look no further than level 3 on the food pyramid!
Milk, yogurt, and hard cheese is an amazing source of calcium with the HSE recommending 3 servings per day for adults and 5 servings for children between the ages of 9 and 18. An 8oz (or 237ml) glass of milk contains 300mg of calcium alone! Of course, not all children can eat dairy, but calcium can be found in other places – like level 5 of the food pyramid! Dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, chickpeas, and calcium-fortified products such as orange juice and cereals are also an excellent alternative source! The HSE recommends 5-7 servings per day from this level!
Looking to kick up the calcium in your kids diet? Here are a few tips from us:
- Add yogurt and dark leafy greens to smoothies
- Add white beans and lentils to soups and curries
- Top healthy snacks with low-fat cheese
- Start the day with a glass of orange juice
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and almonds on cereals or just eat as a healthy snack
It’s always important to maintain a balanced diet and follow the food pyramid as recommended by the HSE. Eating your daily recommended amount of calcium is brilliant, but don’t undo all your hard work by having fizzy drinks or caffeine every day as these can inhibit absorption. It’s also important to get enough Vitamin D into your diet as this helps your body absorb all that goodness.
Check out the food pyramid below for a full breakdown of the HSE’s recommended servings!