Calcium is an essential mineral that most people have historically gotten, though drinking milk. It is the most abundant mineral in our bodies, and responsible for helping us build strong bones. Which in young athletes that means not only being healthy, but reducing the risk of injury. Stronger bones are less susceptible to fractures and breaks the can occur during training.
The recommended intake of calcium is 1000mg a day, for kids ages 4-8, and 1300mg for kids ages 9-18. This equates to about three 8 oz. glasses of milk for kids ages 4-8 and four glasses for kids ages 9-18. Unfortunately, very few kids actually drink 3-4 classes of milk a day, and get enough calcium to support their growing bones.
Luckily, there is several other foods out there, that are easy to incorporate into their diets. Children’s vitamins, such as Flintstones, are also a good daily source of calcium and provide around 300mg. Check out the list below to find out different ways to get calcium into your diet.
Alternative Dairy Sources-
- 1 Cup plain Low-Fat Yogurt 415mg
- 1.5 oz. of Mozzarella 333mg
- 1.5 oz. of Cheddar Cheese 307mg
- 1 Cup of Cottage Cheese 138mg
- 1 Cup of Frozen Yogurt 103mg
Alternative Non-dairy Sources-
- 1 Cup of Collards greens 357mg
- 1 Cup of Soy Milk (calcium fortified) 299mg
- 1 Cup of Orange Juice (calcium fortified) 261mg
- 1 Cup of Black-eyed peas 211mg
- 1 Cup of Instant Oatmeal 187mg
- 1 Cup of Cheerios 114mg
To help your child get the most out of their calcium intake, try and spread it out throughout the day. This will help increase how much calcium is absorbed. Below is an example.
Example of daily calcium distribution
- Breakfast- 1 Cup of instant oatmeal or cheerios 114-187mg
- Lunch-1 Cup of Orange Juice (calcium fortified) 261mg
- Snack- String Cheese 222mg
- Dinner-1 Class of milk or Soy Milk 299-306mg
- Children’s vitamin before bed 300mg
Total Calcium= 1196-1276mg
2) Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2016, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium-sources/
3) Laura Schwecherl (April 2014) 18 Suprising Cources of Daity Free Calcium Retrieved September 10, 2016, from http://greatist.com/health/18-surprising-dairy-free-sources-calcium