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It is very important for a mother to be careful about her kid’s diet as the right amount of nutrition in the growing years ensures good health and fitness later in life. Calcium is among the most important nutrients for growing kids. It helps in bone formation and also aids in changes in bone structure during adolescence.
Why Calcium-Rich Foods Are Important For Kids
Calcium is important for the formation of healthy teeth in babies and young children. It is good for maintaining the muscles and helps in aiding the metabolism. Maintaining the adequate levels of this nutrient in the body during the formative years of your kids helps them to fight diseases such as bone deformation, kidney disorders, and osteoporosis.
13 Best Calcium-Rich Foods For Children
You may include any of the following Calcium-rich food items in your child’s diet:
1. Dairy Products
Dairy products such as cow milk, yogurt, and cheese are an excellent source. If your kid does not like milk, you may substitute it with yogurt and cheese. Make sure you include one serving of dairy products in your child’s diet.
You may give orange fruit or orange juice to your kid as it is not only rich in Calcium but it is also in vitamin C. An average sized orange can provide 50 mg of Calcium to your little one. It is better to give fresh orange juice rather than giving fortified juice.
Soy is a very rich source of Calcium and can be added to your kid’s daily diet in the form of soy milk or soy yogurt. Soy milk is a good option to be given to your child if your child is lactose intolerant.
Almonds are said to boost brain power and memory but they are also a very good source of this nutrient. Around 110 mg of Calcium can be obtained from one-third cup of almonds. You may give almonds to your child in the form of almond butter.
Broccoli is power packed with loads of Calcium and also serves as an excellent meal option. Some children may develop aversions for broccoli but you may add it in a smart way in your child’s food by disguising it in his kid-friendly foods. E.g., Broccoli cheese bites, Broccoli crust pizza, etc.
Beans serve as an excellent source of the nutrient for your young one. You may give beans in the form of a vegetable or make interesting recipes like cheesy bean quesadillas and black beans with rice.
7. Green Vegetables
Many green vegetables such as spinach, okra, sweet potatoes, etc. are also an excellent source of Calcium for your kid. Moreover, these green vegetables provide fibre and other minerals to your child. You can try fun recipes like pesto pasta and kale chips to make them enticing for your child.
Cereals are a good way of adding Calcium to your child’s diet. Ragi, brown rice etc. contain high amounts of the nutrient. You can try different recipes like no-bake health bars or cookies for a crunchy treat at snack time.
9. Fish and Meat
Fishes such as Tuna, Salmon, and Sardines are an excellent source of Calcium. Meat such as beef is also a good source. You can use fish and meat in your child’s food in many fun ways like wraps, bites, and pasta.
10. Green Peas
Green peas are not only an excellent source of Calcium, but they are also rich in Vitamin K which is helpful in preserving bone mineral density. Add green peas to hummus, mashed potatoes or soup for a tasty treat.
Lentils such as chickpeas, kidney beans, soya bean, etc. are a good source of Calcium for your kid. Try lentils in the form of curries or patties to make them appealing for your child.
12. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are rich in Calcium and can be added to your child’s diet. You add sesame seeds in salads, pasta, soups, etc.
Eggs are amongst one of the first few food items that you may give to your baby. Eggs are rich in Calcium and help in building bones and teeth on your baby and can be introduced in various forms and dishes. However, it is best to check with your child’s paediatrician before introducing eggs.
Calcium Content of Various Foods
The following chart shows the approximate amounts of Calcium in the various food items:
|Food Item||Serving Size||Calcium Content|
|Whole milk||1 cup||276 mg|
|Low-fat yogurt||1 cup||311 mg|
|Cottage cheese||1/2 cup||125 mg|
|Soybean||1 cup||515 mg|
|Almond||¼ cup||115 mg|
|Cooked Spinach||1 cup||245 mg|
|Dried Figs||1 cup||241 mg|
|White wheat bread||1 slice||192 mg|
|Sesame seeds||1 ounce||280 mg|
|Cooked green mustard||1 cup||165 mg|
|Cooked green turnip||1 cup||249 mg|
|Chia seeds||1 ounce||179 mg|
*mg = milligrams
Amount of Calcium Required for Different Age Groups
Your kid will require different amounts of Calcium at different stages. The ideal way of consuming it is in the form of food; however, if your child’s nutritional requirements are not getting met from food, then your child may be prescribed supplements by your doctor. Following are the estimated amounts of Calcium required by different age groups:
- Babies less than six months require 200 milligrams of Calcium per day. It is recommended that babies below six months of age be exclusively breastfed/formula-fed.
- Babies from 6 to 11 months require 260 milligrams of Calcium per day. It is recommended that babies below one year of age should only be given breast or formula milk and no other kind of milk.
- Kids from 1 to 3 years of age require 700 milligrams of Calcium per day.
- Kids from 4 to 8 years of age require 1000 milligrams of Calcium per day.
- Kids from 9 to 18 years of age require a daily intake of 1300 milligrams of Calcium.
For the Calcium to get absorbed by the body, it is important that there is an adequate amount of Vitamin D in the body. Sunlight aids the conversion of cholesterol in the body into Vitamin D. It is very important to expose your baby to sunlight. Apart from sunlight, fish and eggs are also a good source of Vitamin D. If your kid lacks adequate amounts of Vitamin D, your doctor may prescribe supplements for the same.
Calcium-Rich Food Recipes
Here are some yummy Calcium-rich food recipes to tickle the taste buds of your kids:
1. Creamy Broccoli Soup
This is a super quick and simple recipe that you can put together in no time. Take the broccoli florets and stem and grate them and then toss them with herbs and spices of your choice. Soak some cashews in warm water and churn them to make a smooth paste. Boil the broccoli and cashew milk together. You may even serve this soup with some garlic bread or cheese crackers. You may make variations of your choice in the soup.
2. Cottage Cheese Wraps
Your kid is sure to love this cottage cheese wrap recipe. Sauté some finely chopped onions, green chillies, and tomatoes. Throw in some spices of your choice and then finally add shredded cottage cheese. Take a thin chapati and spread some sauces over it. Add the cottage cheese mixture and you are good to go. This is an ideal lunch box option for your child. You may also sneak in some veggies along with cottage cheese in the wrap.
3. Dried Figs In Rice Pulao
Figs are loaded with Calcium, and you may add zing to the standard pulao by adding some figs into it. The sweetness of the figs will certainly enhance the taste of pulao and your little one will love it for sure.
4. Chocolate Cake With Millet
Millet or ragi is an excellent source of Calcium and can be added to the basic chocolate cake for the extra nutritional punch. The versatile ragi can be added to any food to increase its nutritional value.
Kids love change, and thus you can keep experimenting with various recipes to fulfill the Calcium requirements of your child. Giving a twist to a boring recipe is an interesting way of making your child eat a particular food item.
You may try different ways of including Calcium-rich food in your child’s diet as a deficiency can cause problems in your child. The best is to include meal options which provide the required amount of Calcium, but if you feel that your child is eating poorly or is not getting enough you should consult your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe supplements to your child. Though Calcium is essential for your kid, too much of it may cause health complications. Therefore, it is recommended not to go overboard when it comes to feeding Calcium-rich food to your kid.