When we were kids and teenagers, we only had one chance to build strong bones. Children with enough calcium start their adult lives with the most robust bones. This protects them from bone loss later in life. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best calcium supplements and where to get calcium in food.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a bone-strengthening mineral. It also helps the body in many other ways. Calcium keeps nerves and muscles working. It also plays a role in keeping the heart-healthy.
Benefits of Calcium for kids
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Toddlers and infants need calcium and vitamin D to prevent rickets. Rickets softens the bones and causes the legs to bend, grow slowly, and sometimes muscle soreness or weakness
Calcium requirements for kids
Babies get calcium from breast milk or formula:
- Babies younger than 6 months need 200 mg of calcium per day
- Babies 6 to 11 months old need 260 mg of calcium per day
For Children and adolescents
Children need more calcium to support their growing bones as they age:
- Children 1 to 3 years old need 700 mg of calcium per day (2-3 servings)
- Children ages 4 to 8 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day (2-3 servings)
- Children and teens ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 mg of calcium per day (4 servings)
Which food provides the best Calcium supplements for kids
Milk is the food most commonly associated with high calcium. It’s worth noting that there are many other foods that are good sources of calcium, including other dairy products, many vegetables, calcium-fortified orange juice, and other calcium-fortified foods.
- Low-fat plain yogurt: 300-450 mg per serving (1 cup)
- American cheese: 350 mg (2 ounces) per serving
- Milk (whole or low-fat): 300 mg per serving (1 cup)
- Calcium-fortified soy, rice, or goat milk: 300 mg per serving (1 cup)
- Calcium-fortified orange juice: 300 mg per serving (1 cup)
- Cooked dry white beans: 161 mg (1 oz) per serving
- Dried figs: 169 mg per serving (10 figs)
- Spinach: 120 mg per serving (1 cup uncooked or 1/2 cup cooked)
- Oranges: 50 mg per serving (1 medium orange)
- Instant Oatmeal: 100 mg (1 packet)
- Sweet potatoes: 44 mg per serving (1/2 cup mashed)
- Broccoli: 35 mg per serving (1 1/2 cups uncooked or 1/2 cup cooked)
Calcium supplements for kids
If children don’t like milk, yogurt, and orange juice, it may be difficult for them to get enough calcium. To make matters worse, these picky eaters were also less likely to want to eat other calcium-rich foods like spinach and broccoli.
You might think you can make up for a calcium deficiency in your child’s diet by giving them vitamins, but regular vitamins have very little calcium. Depending on the product, calcium supplements can easily ensure your child is getting enough calcium.