Do we need calcium supplements for children?

calcium-supplements-for-children-1600x1067 Do we need calcium supplements for children?

It may seem like an uphill struggle in making sure your child has it’s a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. As they become a little more independent and develop their own voice, you may find that their opinions on some foods change.

Gone are the days where they wolf down blended vegetable mush and pureed fruit. Now the dinner table is a battle field and despite your best attempts in concealing the broccoli and carrots in a healthy shepherd’s pie, all they will touch is the potato.

Parenthood is a joyful but stressful experience. If children point blank refuse to eat a lot of foods, what choice as parents do we have other than to provide them with the chips and toast that they WILL eat? And if this is their diet, are supplements for children a good idea?

A lot of nutrients are found in a huge amount of food. On top of this, a lot of food aimed at children is fortified with vitamins and minerals. Take calcium – if a child refuses to drink milk, should calcium supplements be offered? Here is what the recommended calcium intakes are for children:

  • Under 6 months — 200 mg
  • 6–12 months — 260 mg
  • 1–3 years — 700 mg
  • 4–8 years — 1,000 mg
  • 9–18 years — 1,300 mg

One of the good things about calcium is that it is found in a LOT of foods. If your child refuses milk, yoghurts, cheeses, salmon and even ice cream are good sources. Some calcium rich foods include:

Yogurt, plain, low-fat (8 oz.) — 415 mg

Mozzarella cheese (1.5 oz.) — 333 mg

Yogurt, fruit, low-fat (8 oz.) — 313–384 mg

Cheddar cheese (1.5 oz.) — 307 mg

Milk, nonfat (8 oz.) — 299 mg

Soy milk, calcium-fortified (8 oz.) — 299 mg

Milk, 2% (8 oz.) — 293 mg

Milk, whole (8 oz.) — 276 mg

Orange juice, calcium-fortified (6 oz.) — 261 mg

Salmon (3 oz.) — 181 mg

Cereal, calcium-fortified (1 cup) — 100–1,000 mg

Turnip greens (½ cup) — 99 mg

Kale (1 cup) — 94–100 mg

Ice cream, vanilla (½ cup) — 84 mg

Bread, white (1 slice) — 73 mg

Broccoli (½ cup) — 21 mg

Make a nutritious soup, or if you’re at your wit’s end, a cup of chocolate milk. Somehow, your child will find a way to consume calcium, even if it’s in a way you might not be that happy with.

Don’t give up either, children’s palates change, and one day they will welcome back that shepherd’s pie with open arms.



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