Research has established that calcium should be an important part of the food we eat. Kids up to the age of 8 need about 800 mg of calcium per day where as those above 8 and up to 18 require 1300 mg of calcium per day. For children milk is the natural and most important source of calcium. In the case of those who are unable to consume milk due to any reason there could be other substitutes.
Calcium, along with exercise, helps development of healthy bones. In case of calcium deficiency, the bone density will be low resulting in osteoporosis and fractured bones especially in case of girls. Absorption of calcium is the maximum at the age of puberty as such this is the time when consumption should be adequate or deficiency will continue for the remaining part of life.
The following foods are a rich source of calcium for any human being, especially children, who require it the most:
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, tofu and cheese
Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, beans and peas
Beans: Almonds, peanuts, black beans and baked beans
Fish: Salmon and other varieties
Misc: Sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses and brown sugar.
While buying food stuff meant for children, look for the contents mentioned on labels. If your children are not fond of milk you can give them fruit yogurt, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese or milk shake which children normally love to drink. Cheese rich pizza will be liked by children. They will not only eat to their full but will also get to eat cheese which contains calcium.
In addition to milk, a large number of food brands are available which have food fortified with calcium. They are made especially for children and the additives make them tasty to the liking of the children. You can try them, some of the calcium fortified foods are:
- Calcium fortified breakfast cereal include whole grain foods, total Raisin Bran, Total Cranberry Crunch and Total Honey Clusters which fulfill the requirement of calcium for the kids.
- Calcium fortified orange juices are available in stores which children are likely to drink easily.
- For the children who do not like dairy milk or are allergic to dairy products, calcium fortified soya milk is a very good option.
- Oatmeal is generally fortified with calcium supplements. These can be a very good breakfast item for the children.
- Children will love to eat English muffins. These can be a rich source of calcium for them. Calcium fortified bread is also available in the market.
In addition to cereals, vegetables like broccoli and spinach are a good source of calcium. Make it a habit to serve salads with each meal. This way the child will not only get adequate supply of calcium but also sufficient quantity of roughage which will keep the digestive system healthy. A number of recipes can be tried using beans and fish.
There could be many more types of food preparations which you can make at home using ingredients rich in calcium and which the child eats easily and are of his liking. You will have to try them out after doing some research. Lots of recipes are available on the net. Make the food items innovative and give them a classic look and the child will eat with ease.
Make the children participate in games to enable them to get sufficient exercise which will help them develop healthy and strong bones.