Replace sugary drinks with milk
Best source of calcium – Growing up, your parents always told you to drink your milk to build strong bones. Turns out they were right. Calcium is a mineral found in some foods and drinks and it works with other vitamins and minerals to build strong bones and teeth for life.
The best way for children to get their calcium intake for the day is through milk and milk products. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, most young people should drink milk products in these amounts:
Children ages 1-3: 2 cups a day
Children ages 4-8: 3 cups a day
Preteens and teens: 4 cups a day
You might be thinking, “What if my child can’t or won’t drink that much milk?” Other foods containing smaller amounts of calcium include macaroni and cheese, broccoli, kale, canned salmon, cottage cheese, navy or pinto beans, almonds and oranges.
If a child has a milk allergy, talk to your doctor on how to select a calcium supplement. If milk products don’t agree with your child or teen, don’t let that stop them from getting enough calcium. Serve Lactaid (specially treated) milk instead of regular milk.
Here are some easy options that have the same amount of calcium as a cup of milk.
- Yogurt, 1 cup
- Smoothies made with milk, yogurt, and frozen fruit
- Cheese, 2 ounces
- Orange juice plus calcium, 1 cup
- Calcium-fortified soy milk, 1 cup
- Total cereal, ¾ cup
There are many calcium alternatives for your child. For more facts about the importance of calcium, checkout Iowa 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count program.