How Important Calcium-rich Foods in Your Child's Diet?
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Sep 06, 2018
Calcium is crucial and a must-have mineral in toddler’s diets to enhance their health and development. The body of your toddler uses calcium for a number of functions other than the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Despite this fact, studies show most pre-schoolers don’t get the recommended amount of calcium. Read on to find out the importance of calcium in a child’s diet, how much calcium your child needs, best calcium-rich food for babies, and how to avoid getting too little or too much, what happens when the child fails to take adequate amount of calcium, and more.
Why Children Needs Calcium?
Babies and toddlers require calcium equally or more than adults for several reasons. Calcium is very essential for babies and toddlers. Here is why calcium is important for growing children.
- Calcium plays an imperative role in building strong bones, teeth and muscle function. And because babies are growing, forming new bones, teeth, and muscle, undergoing changes in bone structure in the course of their growth, they need a steady supply of calcium
- It is also very important to regulate the functions of your baby’s heart
- It plays an important role in blood clotting, and activate the enzymes that convert food into energy, thereby aids in metabolism
- To fill the calcium reservoir of the body. The skeleton is a living tissue and acts as a calcium reservoir and we only get one chance to deposit calcium - from the early years through the teens. The more they deposit when they’re young, the longer it should last as they get older. By around 20 years no more calcium deposit is possible. All the grown-ups can do is, take the daily recommended amount of calcium through their diet or else the body will take the required amount of calcium stored in the bone. Result… osteoporosis, a condition that gives rise to weak and brittle bones. Therefore, when kids fail to take in enough calcium, their bone mass will be affected and they are more susceptible to developing weak bones later on in life
How Much Calcium Is Required For Babies And Toddlers?
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium by WHO is given below. What you have to keep in your mind is the child doesn't strictly have to get the suggested amount of calcium every day. Instead, make sure he or she gets that amount (together) over the course of a few days or a week.
|Child-age||Calcium-intake (in mg)|
|0-6 months Babies||Breast-fed (300 mg)|
|0 to 6 months Babies||Formula-fed (500 mg)|
|7 to 12 months Babies||550 mg|
|1-3 Years Toddlers||700 mg|
|4-7 Years Children||800 mg|
|8-11 Years Children||900 mg (girls) & 800 mg (boys)|
|12-15 Years Children & Teenagers||1000 mg (girls) & 1200 mg (boys)|
|16-18 Years Teenagers||800 mg (girls) & 1000 mg (boys)|
How to Incorporate High-in Calcium Foods in Child's Diet?
For the babies under 7 months, breast milk/ formula milk provides a sufficient amount of calcium according to their age. However, to ensure your toddler gets enough calcium for healthy growth & developmental milestones, start including these high calcium foods in his diet.
Dairy products:Two servings of dairy will easily satisfy the 500-milligram daily goal of calcium for toddlers
Soy milk:An excellent source of calcium. You can rely on it for the RDI of calcium if your child is allergic to dairy products. Even calcium-fortified versions are also available
Oranges:A regular sized orange can supply around 50 mg of Calcium to your little one. It is also rich in vitamin C
Greens:Many green vegetables such as spinach, okra, broccoli, etc are also an excellent source of Calcium for toddlers. Moreover, these green vegetables provide fiber and other minerals to your child
Lentils:Soya bean, kidney beans, peas, chickpeas are all good sources of calcium
Egg:Eggs are rich in Calcium. A boiled egg contains 50 mg of calcium. Even though it provides the best calcium for kids, it is always recommended to consult your child’s pediatrician before introducing eggs
Fish:Fishes such as Tuna, Salmon, and Sardines are an excellent source of Calcium
Almonds:Your toddler can attain about 110 mg of Calcium from one-third cup of almonds
What If My Child Is Allergic To Dairy Products, How Can I Ensure They Get RDI Of Calcium?
Irrespective of the fact that the dairy products are great sources of calcium, cow’s milk allergy is common among the kids. In that case, no wonder you concerned about their calcium intake. However, fortunately, nowadays, there are many calcium-rich foods available that can be used in place of dairy. You can include cereals that are fortified with calcium. Not only that. There is a wide range of food items to choose from, like, Calcium-fortified orange juice, Calcium-fortified rice milk, soy milk, or tofu, Oranges, Dark-green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, peas, and collard greens, etc. Vitamin D
We can’t conclude this topic without mentioning Vitamin D. Getting enough Vitamin D is important too. Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium, so make sure your child gets an adequate amount vitamin D (about 600 international units (IU)) per day.
Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D. It helps to convert cholesterol in the body into Vitamin D. Therefore, it is very important to expose your baby to sunlight. Otherthan sunlight, fish and eggs are also an excellent source of Vitamin D. Babies more often will not get enough vitamin D from food and other sources. Owing to this fact, doctors often recommend vitamin D supplements. Babies who have only breast milk may need a vitamin D supplement. On the other hand, those who are formula don't need extra vitamin D as formulas are fortified with vitamin D.
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