Toddler calcium boosts
Did you know that 90% of our bone density – the strength of our bones – is established during childhood?
That’s why it’s really important to make sure your little one eats plenty of calcium-rich food as a toddler (he gets plenty as a baby in both breast and formula milk).
Calcium is also important for healthy teeth.
Ideally, toddlers aged between 1 and 3 need 350mg of calcium every day.
Toddler calcium boosts
It’s really easy to make sure your toddler gets all the calcium she needs.
It can be found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fruit and nuts – although be careful with nuts if there is a history of allergies in your family.
Aim to give your toddler one or two bone-building foods, listed on the following pages, every day, and you will hit that 350mg – no problem.
Two Mini Babybels provide 260mg of calcium in just a couple of mouthfuls.
Add them to a packed lunch, have them on a picnic or throw some in your bag for a healthy snack when you’re out and about.
Peeled and with the pith removed, oranges are sweet and juicy, and contain around 75mg calcium per fruit.
Give your child freshly-squeezed juice at breakfast time, add segments to a fruit salad, or cut up and let your child snack on pieces of juicy orange while you’re reading a story or watching TV together.
100g provides a whopping 430mg of calcium, so sardines are great – if you can get your child to eat them!
Try making them more appealing by using a sandwich cutter to make ‘fishy sandwiches’ on white bread, which is another great source of calcium too.
Otherwise, try stirring some mashed sardines into a tomatoey pasta sauce.
GLASS OF MILK
Full-fat or semi-skimmed milk contains 350mg of calcium per half-pint.
Semi-skimmed has just as much calcium but should only be given to children over the age of two as younger toddlers need the calories from full-fat milk.
Ounce-for-ounce, broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, and 80g of broccoli (or two to three ‘branches’) provides 32mg – so it’s well worth sneaking some into his chicken pasta for an extra health boost.
Two 45mg pots of fruit fromage frais add up to around 77.4mg calcium and are handy to give to your child for breakfast or as a pudding.
Some brands contain high levels of sugar, though, so always check the label.