Delights of dairy
Most of us know that dairy foods products are a rich source of calcium, protein and vitamins and they contribute to the growth and development of healthy active children. In particular, calcium plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth.
But according to a recent survey, many children are coming up short on their daily calcium intake, with 11% of children between four and eight years old not meeting their estimated average requirements.
What is the recommended daily calcium intake?
- One to three years: 500mg per day
- Four to eight years: 700mg per day
- Nine to eleven years: 1000mg per day
- Twelve to eighteen years: 1300mg per day
How can I ensure my child receives their daily intake?
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your child has the calcium they need to help build strong bones is by providing a diet rich in dairy foods.
Just two to three servings per day will help achieve the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for kids:
- 1 cup of milk (250ml)
- 2 slices of cheese (40g)
- 1 tub of yoghurt (200g)
As an added bonus, aside from being rich in calcium, dairy foods may also contain a range of additional nutrients such as protein and vitamin D.
How do I make dairy part of my child's day?
Keeping snacks and meal times fresh and varied can be challenging, especially when figuring out what to put in the school lunch box. Here are some easy ways to add calcium into your child's daily menu:
A small tub of yoghurt is a quick and easy snack on its own. You can even incorporate yoghurt into other snack ideas such as these yummy mini banana muffins with yoghurt topping.
A glass of milk is an excellent serve of dairy and is a nutritious addition to any meal. If you have plain-milk-resistant kids on your hands, try blending in some banana for sweetness and a sneaky serving of fruit!
Part of a meal
Not only does adding milk to your child's breakfast cereal provide a great hit of calcium, as an alternative, try adding yoghurt and fruit topping on delicious muesli for a nutritious kickstart to the day.
At lunchtime offer sandwiches or wraps filled with salads and a slice of cheese. And at dinnertime, simply sprinkle cheese over spaghetti Bolognese as a quick way to add in a dairy component. After dinner, give them a dairy dessert; it will provide a serve of dairy and round out a great meal.
This article was written by Yvette Lee for Kidspot. Sources include Dairy Australia and Australian Govt's 2007 Australian Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey and NZ Nutrition Foundation.