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The Great Calcium Crusade

What kid doesn’t like milk or cheese? My kid.

More than the inconvenience of Boy Wonder not liking macaroni and cheese or milk on his cereal, I worry about his calcium intake.

We all know calcium is important, but do we really know why? Moreover, do we know how much calcium our kids even need? Have no fear; I have the answers after the jump!

Why care about calcium? Calcium is essential for building strong teeth and bones. Maintaining a diet rich in calcium and calcium-rich foods is the only way to ensure our children build maximum bone density for a lifetime of better health. Did you know our bodies need a constant supply of calcium? We lose calcium a variety of ways through normal living and it’s up to us to replenish our body’s calcium supply through our diet.

Why is calcium so important for kids? According to the National Institutes for Health, calcium is particularly important during the tween and teen years when bones are growing their fastest. The NIH Milk Matters campaign reminds us that now is the time to build strong bones in our tweens and teens because once our kids reach adulthood they can’t make up for calcium deficiencies. By age 17, our kids will have already established 90 percent of their adult bone mass.

How much calcium do kids need? Kids ages 4 to 8 need 800 mg a day. Tweens and teens ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 mg a day! See this handy chart provided by the NIH for complete details.

Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) reported that the majority of older children and adolescents in the U.S. currently are not consuming the recommended intake of calcium. This is a problem, parents! So what do we do about it? Especially if our kid hates milk and cheese? We look to other sources of calcium suggested by the NIH.

And what do you know, low fat yogurt is on the list. I’ve tried sending Boy Wonder to school with low fat yogurt for years only to have him come home at the end of the day with lunch bag containing a freezer pack and a cup of warm yogurt. He never once ate the yogurt I provided because he said he “just didn’t like it”, that was until I introduced him to Yoplait’s Trix yogurt!

He loves this stuff and I love the fact that it’s a source of calcium, along with vitamins A and D! And let’s not forget that Trix yogurt doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners! I’d call that a win-win.

If I combine the Trix yogurt he eats at lunch along with the Trix yogurt he snacks on after school, he’s getting about 345 mg of calcium from yogurt alone! Combine that with other calcium-rich foods and we’re on our way to getting him the calcium he needs for growing bones.

How do you make sure your kid is getting the recommended daily calcium requirement?

A big thanks to Yoplait Trix for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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