CALCIUM COMES FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES 👏NOT 👏JUST 👏MILK – but so often when I tell parents it’s okay if their child doesn’t drink milk they respond with “What about Calcium?” 🤔
What is Calcium?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and vital for good health! It is essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of 🦴 bones and 🦷 teeth. It regulates muscle contraction💪🏼, including keeping your heart ❤️ beating.
Calcium plays a key role in normal blood coagulation (clotting). Calcium is also a co-factor for many enzymes; this means that without the presence of calcium, these important enzymes cannot work as efficiently!
How Much Calcium Does My Child Need?
Calcium needs will change throughout our lifetime. In the beginning of life (age birht – 11 months) either breastmilk or formula will meet all of their needs. While they don’t have to eat it for their needs, learning to eat a variety of these foods while they are babies will be helpful as they get older.
Once your child is a year old, their calcium needs jump from 260mg per day to 700mg per day. This is why it is key to expose them to a variety of calcium-rich foods as babies so that when they are older they will at least eat a few of these foods to meet their needs while they learn to like other calcium-rich foods.
Sources of Calcium
Although many people tend to think dairy 🥛 when mentioning calcium, there are SO MANY other sources with comparable amounts and it is completely possible to meet your child’s calcium needs without dairy!
These are just SOME of the foods (both naturally occurring and fortified) that contain calcium but hopefully help you to realize how many options you have for offering calcium-rich foods based on what you have access to, budget, time to prepare foods, etc.
Let’s look at a breakdown of how much calcium is in these sources so that you can better understand how much your child is already eating and help to plan to continue or begin meeting their needs.
If you are a “non-dairy family” (whether for an allergy, intolerance, or personal decision) there are many sources to get enough calcium into your child’s diet and can be served at every meal & snack. It just requires you to be more mindful of what you need to serve during the day to meet your little one’s needs so make a point to serve a variety of these foods!
However you SHOULD focus on offering a variety to your child – no matter if you are a “dairy family” or “non-dairy family”- to ensure they get enough calcium to build strong bones and teeth that will carry them throughout their life!