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Calcium recommendations

The food your child eats is the best source of calcium because calcium absorbed from food is more readily absorbed by the body.

The recommended guidelines for calcium your child needs every day are:

Age

Calcium your child needs

1 to 3 years

800 milligrams

4 to 5 years

1,000 milligrams

Source: National Institutes of Health (Office of Dietary Supplements)

Ways to get more calcium into your child’s diet:

  • Offer milk with meals or use as a snack.
  • Offer calcium-fortified juices, cereals or granola bars.
  • Try different types of cheeses (such as mozzarella or colby).
  • Offer yogurt or frozen yogurt as a snack.
  • Sprinkle grated cheese on salads, soups and casseroles.

Examples of foods that contain calcium:

  • fruit yogurt (1 cup) — 345 mg
  • skim milk (1 cup) — 302 mg
  • pizza (1 slice) — 220 mg
  • mozzarella cheese (1 ounce) — 207 mg
  • spinach (one-half cup, cooked) — 120 mg
  • ice cream (one-half cup) — 83 mg
  • parmesan cheese (1 tablespoon) — 69 mg
  • broccoli (one-half cup, cooked) — 35 mg

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic