Is Your Kid Getting Enough Calcium?

There is nothing more tragic then dealing with the lost teeth or bone problems that can develop as the result of a child not having enough calcium in his or her diet.

How much calcium your child should be getting depending upon her age. Children between the ages of 4 and 9 should receive at least 800 milligrams of calcium on a daily basis, while children between the ages of 10 and 19 should be getting at least 1300 milligrams of calcium every day.

One serving might look like:
• one eight-ounce glass of milk
• one 1 ½ ounce piece of cheese
• six ounces of yogurt

While dairy products tend to be the best source of calcium for young children, it is not always possible to offer these food items to your child. Children that are, allergic to cow's milk protein, or vegan, will need to find an alternative source of calcium. Some great foods high in calcium include:
• soy milk or rice milk
• leafy green vegetables (including collard greens, kale, and bok choy)
• broccoli
• salmon with bones
• tofu
• enriched fruit juices and cereals

Unfortunately, calcium isn't always absorbed that efficiently in your child's stomach. Vitamin D is essential for proper calcium absorption. 200 IUs of vitamin D everyday will help calcium to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, ensuring that your child gets the most out of his calcium intake.

Vitamin D is produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight, particularly between the months of April and October. Encourage your child to be active outdoors during this time period. Large amounts of vitamin D can also be found in egg yolks and fish.

Does your kid ignore foods with calcium in them? Here are some suggestions for upping the calcium intake in every day foods.

• Try adding flavored syrup to a glass of milk. Chocolate, strawberry, and even banana syrup can make milk or yogurt more appealing. Look for syrups with little sugar and no additives.

• Sprinkle some cheese on top of vegetables, or add a light cheese sauce over vegetables!

• Make soups and warm cereals with milk instead of water. This is a great way to sneak some extra calcium into kid's diet.

• Add low-fat ice cream or yogurt to a variety of different fruits. This will not only increase your child's calcium intake, but it will also encourage him to develop his taste for healthy food items.

Part of the battle here is to keep your child entertained and also to make sure that he or she gets calcium served up in the tastiest ways you can dream up.