Building Healthy Bones: Calcium-Rich Foods for Growing Kids

As parents, we all want our children to grow up strong and healthy. One key component of overall health is bone strength, which is especially important during the growing years. Building healthy bones early on can help prevent issues like osteoporosis later in life. One of the best ways to ensure your kids are getting the calcium they need for strong bones is through their diet.

The Importance of Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. It is especially important for children, as their bones are still growing and developing. In addition to bone health, calcium also plays a role in muscle function, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion. Children who do not get enough calcium may be at risk for stunted growth and weakened bones.

Recommended Daily Intake

According to the National Institutes of Health, children between the ages of 4-8 should aim for 1,000 mg of calcium per day, while children aged 9-18 should aim for 1,300 mg per day. This can be achieved through a combination of food sources and supplements, if necessary.

Top Calcium-Rich Foods

Milk and Dairy Products

Milk is one of the most well-known sources of calcium, with one cup of milk containing around 300 mg. Other dairy products like yogurt and cheese are also good sources of calcium. Encouraging your kids to have a glass of milk with dinner or a yogurt for a snack can help them meet their daily calcium needs.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Vegetables like kale, broccoli, and bok choy are also great sources of calcium. While they may not contain as much calcium per serving as dairy products, they can still contribute to your child’s overall calcium intake. Try incorporating these vegetables into soups, salads, or stir-fries to make them more appealing to your kids.

Fortified Foods

Many foods, such as breakfast cereals, orange juice, and bread, are fortified with calcium to help people meet their daily needs. Keep an eye out for these fortified foods when grocery shopping and look for options that are low in sugar and additives.


Fish like salmon and sardines are not only high in calcium, but they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Try incorporating more fish into your child’s diet by making fish tacos, salmon burgers, or adding sardines to a salad.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and black beans are not only high in protein and fiber, but they also contain calcium. Try making bean-based dishes like chili, hummus, or bean salads to help your child get their daily dose of calcium.


Ensuring your child gets enough calcium is crucial for their overall health and well-being, especially when it comes to building and maintaining strong bones. By incorporating calcium-rich foods like milk, leafy green vegetables, fortified foods, fish, and beans into their diet, you can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy bones. Remember to consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns about their calcium intake or need guidance on supplementation.