Calcium is mostly known for its key role in bone health, but it also has a few other benefits including being important for healthy teeth, healthy muscle function, and to help the body produce energy from food. Calcium is particularly important for children and teens. Between the ages of five to eight years they need roughly 800 milligrams of calcium per day, and between the ages of nine to 18 they need 1300 milligrams—which is even more than an adult’s requirement of 1000 milligrams per day.
Furthermore, it’s recommended that children aged five to eight years include three portions of dairy foods every day, and this jumps to five portions each day for children aged nine to 12 and teenagers. Calcium is important for everybody, to help maintain healthy bones, but it is particularly important to get a good supply during childhood as the bones are growing and developing. Making sure that your kids get enough calcium now will really benefit them for their whole lives—significantly reducing the risk of osteoporosis in later life as 50 percent of lifelong bone mineral density is laid down between the ages of nine and 18.
For children who don’t consume dairy, this is one of the main nutrients that you need to make an extra conscious effort to include at every meal. So, if your child is dairy intolerant (or even if they simply don’t eat enough dairy foods), here are some tips to help include other sources of calcium in their diet.
BFree mini pitta pockets—suitable for those dealing with multiple allergies and intolerances—they are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, egg free and nut free, but best of all they are HIGH in calcium! Just one mini pitta contains 83 milligrams of calcium. They are the perfect size for little hands to pick up and make a great addition to any lunch box.
Fortified foods—there are many other varieties of foods which have calcium added to them. Some of these include fortified soy milk & yoghurts (if soy can be tolerated), fortified orange juices or fortified tofu. Just check the labels to see what the calcium content is and to check for any other allergens.
Oranges—one large orange has roughly 58 milligrams of calcium.
Tinned salmon and baked beans—these foods contain roughly 50-60 milligrams of calcium per serving (check the label of the particular brands for other allergens).
Leafy green vegetables (like broccoli, kale and spinach—every child’s favourite!)—We’re not suggesting you serve up a plate of spinach, but by getting creative you can sneak in small calcium boosts in other ways. If you’re making a homemade tomato pasta sauce for dinner blend through some spinach, try some broccoli trees dipped in yummy hummus as a snack, or roast some kale ‘crisps’ flavoured with herbs, spices or lemon juice. One cup of kale has about 100 milligrams of calcium while one cup of broccoli would have around 43 milligrams.
Making small additions to every meal of the day can really help to boost your child’s overall calcium intake – supporting their developing bones now and for their future.
In a world where people want great tasting food as part of a lifestyle that is about living better, BFree exists to inspire and empower living free. We believe that when people eat well it helps them to feel great and bring out the best of themselves. We give consumers the freedom to choose from a range of great tasting gluten and wheat free products made from ingredients that improve their health, energy, happiness and well-being. We have a wide portfolio of award-winning products including loaves, wraps, pittas, baguettes and pizza bases to name a few!