Whether you are a student or have a desk job or dance the night away, it is the calcium-rich foods that give your body its basic shape and structure. About 99% of the calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth. The rest is found in the blood where it performs important tasks such as controlling heart rhythm, muscle contractions, making hormones that contribute to energy production and making enzymes that control digestion.
If your child’s daily diet is low in calcium, then the bones give up their calcium to keep your blood levels normal. If this happens day after day, bones can become brittle and can be broken easily. There are more reasons for brittle bones than just a diet low in calcium. Excessive intake of non-vegetarian food, lack of exercise, smoking, acidity and excessive coffee intake are some of the other reasons.
Throughout childhood, bones get longer and stronger, and right up to the age of 25, the calcium arriving is greater than the calcium leaving. So, the bones get stronger and denser. They reach maximum density and stabilise during early adulthood i.e. between the age of 25 and 35. After 35, the bones begin to lose their strength and the ageing process begins.
So, building maximum bone density during childhood by eating calcium-rich foods is important. This is because dense bones create a calcium bank from which withdrawals can be made after the age of 35. Also, strong bones built during childhood can be your best defence against osteoporosis later.
How to add calcium in your child’s diet
Calcium-rich foods are very important for your growing kids. Here are some easy tips on how to add calcium in your child’s diet.
Give your child a strawberry milkshake or a chocolate milkshake if he/she is fusing over drinking plain milk.
Eat curd daily
Get your child into the habit of eating curd every day. Apart from providing easily digestible calcium, curd has immunity-boosting properties.
Cheese for breakfast
Cheese slices on whole grain bread or whole-wheat khakra serves as a tasty snack/breakfast food.
Sprouts as snacks
Green moong sprouts mixed with chopped green salad and dressed with grated cheese and curd can be eaten as a snack when the children come back from school.
Soya bean is a rich source of protein and calcium. You can give soya biscuits in their tiffin box as mid-morning snack. Top it with grated cheese or they can have it along with a yogurt and cheese dip made at home.
- How to make yogurt-cheese dip
Blend 25gms of grated cheese in 1 cup low-fat yogurt and 2 cloves, garlic. Season with salt, pepper and mustard powder.
Most whole pulses are rich in calcium. You can cook rajma, Kabuli channa, black channa, green channa and chowli with finely chopped onions and tomatoes. Serve it with rice or chappati.
Leafy vegetables like methi, broccoli, spinach and radish leaves are extremely rich in calcium. Children would probably enjoy a spinach soup made in milk along with a grilled cheese sandwich made from whole wheat bread.
Nuts & seeds
Almonds and sesame seeds are exceptionally rich in calcium. Children could enjoy a rice kheer made with milk, almonds, sesame seeds and jaggery. Walnuts, figs, dates and apricots also make healthy snack foods for children. They are all calcium-rich foods.
Kids love mint-coriander chutney. So, you could spread this green chutney on their whole wheat sandwiches, or they could eat it as an accompaniment with khakra or with their regular meals.
Choose the options your child is most likely to enjoy because variety improves everyone’s appetite. For a personalised diet plan for your child, you can speak with our experts. Call toll-free 1800 8918131 to book your appointment or a free consult with our experts.