I’m always on the hunt for more calcium sources for the kids. They don’t get enough for their growth, bones and teeth needs. Kids aged 9-13 need 1000mg per day. that’s HUGE. it’s equivalent to 3-4 glasses of milk. 4-8 yrs need 700mg a day of calcium. Adolescents (14-18 years) need a whopping 1300mg per day.
The last Australian health survey conducted in 2011-12 showed that on average children were consuming far less calcium than the recommended daily allowance. And adolescent girls in particular were only consuming just over 50% of their recommended daily intake. Poor dietary habits and the appearance of ‘diets’ for this age group are to blame.
Ok so the recommended daily intake is a LOT if your kids aren’t milk or yoghurt fiends and likewise not huge on broccoli a non dairy source of Calcium . They need this much calcium or they are at risk of weak bones and osteoporosis later in life.
We have until late 30s to store as much calcium in our bones as possible to avoid osteoporosis which is a BIG thing in Australia. We also need calcium for proper functioning of our nerves and muscles.
But that much milk displaces kids appetite for nutrition rich solid food that they really need. Some tips i have found. Fat free milk contains way more calcium (373mg calcium per cup for fat free A2) than full or light milk and has benefit of low fat which they don’t need after 2 yrs old in their milk. keeping under 600ml of milk a day (2 cups) is ideal after meals or instead of snacks. Beware of the low fat milk you choose – check for sugar content. A2 fat free milk contains nearly same amount of sugar as full fat a2 milk and the same sugar content as 1 apple. So I feel ok about that, given the nutrients that the milk are providing for my children.
I’m talking about A2 milk a lot here as my kids don’t tolerate standard milk, one of them was an habitual vomiter after a cup of milk. However A2 seems to go down a dream. Try it if you haven’t !
Also there are 16 nutrients in a glass of milk, which is my preferred choice versus giving my kids calcium tablets. Another alternative is to add 2 slices of Bega light cheese to their diet a day. this is the equivalent of 418 mg of calcium.
Yoghurt is great but beware of vanilla with 160b in it. A natural additive that is bad for bedwetting for kids and toddlers banging their heads. Natural yoghurt with honey added is best if they need sweetener (mine hate bitter taste without). Also a lot of low fat yoghurts contain a lot of sugar so be careful of this trap.
I get my kids to have a glass or two of fat free milk a day, a few slices of cheese either on their sandwich or in a wrap, and a small cup of yoghurt on its own or sometimes in a mild curry sauce.
But beware – too much calcium = low iron absorption so be wary of this too if your children drink TOO much milk they may need to curb it a little. Its recommended you wait half an hour after an iron rich meal before consuming milk (or coffee!) so that the iron is properly absorbed.