Written by Smita Srivastava
A toddler’s diet must be well-balanced and nutrient-rich to ensure proper growth and development. Calcium, one of the body’s essential elements, helps build strong teeth and bones. It is crucial to give calcium rich foods to a toddlers for providing enough calcium in their body.
In this post, we will discuss the importance of calcium in a toddler’s diet, the daily calcium requirements, and the top calcium-rich foods for a toddler. Parents can promote bone growth and overall wellness by feeding their little ones these foods.
In This Article
Toddlers and children depend on this necessary mineral, calcium, for their growth and development. Here are a few of the many ways in which calcium is vital to their well-being-
Calcium is an essential nutrient for healthy teeth and bones. Bones grow quickly in infancy and early childhood, so they need calcium to meet the demand. Children with enough calcium are more likely to grow up with strong bones and teeth. It also promotes healthy gums and strong teeth during development.
Muscle contraction and relaxation are both influenced by calcium. Coordination of movement and efficient muscle function is made possible by enhancing neural-muscular connection. Having enough calcium in the system aids in the formation of strong muscles and stops painful cramping and spasms.
Calcium plays a vital role in how well our nerves work. It helps send signals from the brain to the rest of the body, facilitating communication between the two. Normal sensory perception and motor coordination rely on adequate calcium levels, which promote appropriate nerve signaling.
Blood coagulation, which stops excessive bleeding after an injury, is facilitated by calcium. It aids in creating a blood clot, which stops bleeding and speeds healing by closing off broken blood vessels.
Calcium is essential in several metabolic processes contributing to healthy development and growth. It aids in activating enzymes, regulating hormones, and cell signaling, all of which contribute to the body’s ability to function normally.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that toddlers between 1-3 years of age require 700 mg of daily calcium intake. However, do note that these figures are estimates that could change significantly depending on the specifics of each case.
Different toddlers may have different calcium requirements. A vegetarian or vegan diet, or a preexisting medical condition, may increase the calcium needs of some kids. Providing a well-rounded diet containing calcium-rich foods is essential to meet the necessary calcium intake. Determine the particular calcium requirements of your little one after consulting with their pediatrician.
Calcium is the foundation for strong bones and teeth. Hence, in order to ensure that your toddler has both, there are a number of food items that you can include in their diet. Here are the five best sources of calcium rich foods for toddlers:
Calcium is a mineral that is abundant in dairy products. Calcium is one of the several essential elements in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Two years is the cutoff age at which you should switch your toddler to low- or non-fat milk from whole milk. Serve milk with nuts, use yogurt in smoothies and parfaits, and cheese in savory and sweet recipes.
Calcium is one of the many critical vitamins and minerals in leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens. Soups, stews, and stir-fries can benefit from adding these prepared veggies. They are a healthy addition to omelets and pasta sauces when finely chopped.
Numerous foods are available with added calcium to help you meet your toddler’s nutritional needs. Your toddler can benefit from a diet with fortified foods like cereal, bread, and plant-based milk alternatives (almond or soy). Check the labels to see how much calcium is there in the fortified foods and ensure they are appropriate for your kid’s age.
Calcium is abundantly available in sesame seeds. When sprinkled on salads, stir-fries, or roasted vegetables, they give a nutty flavor and a calcium boost. Snacks like homemade energy balls or granola bars with sesame seeds are tasty and healthy.
Beans and other legumes are rich in calcium, plant-based protein, and fiber. Beans of all kinds—kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils—are versatile ingredients used in various meals. Chickpea hummus is a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional dips for raw vegetables and whole-grain crackers.
A balanced diet rich in calcium will help your toddler’s growth and development. But it’s not always easy to encourage kids to try new food items or make sure they get enough calcium. Here are some easy ways to improve your toddler’s nutrition with calcium-rich foods –
It’s never too early to start feeding your kid foods high in calcium. They’ll get used to the flavor, and working these into their usual diet will be more easy. During the weaning process, provide a wide range of calcium-rich foods and introduce new foods at appropriate intervals.
Calcium is essential for bone health, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese provide plenty. Dairy goods, such as yogurt and cheese sticks, can be a great way to hold your toddler’s attention. You may also make puddings etc. using yogurt and milk. These will be rich in calcium and also appeal to your toddler.
Getting kids to consume green leafy vegetables can be challenging. Serving greens whole as a vegetable side dish may not interest your toddler in eating it. But if you finely chop or puree them and add them to sauces, soups, or pasta dishes, they might not even notice! You may make a nutritious and calcium-rich smoothie by blending spinach with fruit.
Snack time is excellent for introducing calcium-rich foods into your toddler’s diet. Provide fruit, yogurt cups, or cottage cheese as a healthy and tasty snack. Add calcium-fortified cereal and trail mixes or make granola bars with sesame seeds.
Involve your little one in deciding what to eat and how to prepare it. Let them pick out some calcium-rich foods they’d like to try when you’re out shopping for groceries. Having kids help prepare healthy meals like smoothies or yogurt parfaits can pique their interest in eating them.
Your kid may need some time to grow accustomed to unfamiliar flavors. Keep providing calcium-rich foods consistently. You shouldn’t force them to eat, but keep offering and introducing them to these options. In time they will come to enjoy and value them.
Apart from giving calcium-rich foods to your toddler, ensure that they also get ample sunlight. Vitamin D, which we get from sunlight, is very important for absorption of calcium in the body. So only feeding calcium rich foods to your toddler is not enough. To absorb calcium from that food, it is essential that they spend at least 5-15 minutes in the sun several times a week. Lack of vitamin D can cause calcium deficiency in the body and may even lead to a condition called rickets.
For proper development and growth, toddlers need a steady supply of calcium in their diet. You can ensure their developing bones and teeth have the necessary nutrients by feeding them a diet rich in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fortified foods, sesame seeds, and beans/legumes. Remember to talk to your kid’s pediatrician about how much calcium they should be getting and any other dietary concerns you may have.
Although bananas and apples are healthy and good for your kid, they do not contain a lot of calcium. Calcium content is relatively low in these fruits compared to other items like- dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods. To ensure your toddler gets enough calcium, you should include extra calcium-rich foods.
Toddlers can get calcium deficiency if their diet is lacking in adequate amounts of calcium. Sometimes, when as a baby they are fed homemade formula milk or other milk like cow milk, goat milk etc. before 1 year of age, they can develop calcium deficiency. Only way to beat this is to ensure that your toddler is getting a calcium rich diet.
With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.
When Do Toddlers Start Kicking Balls?
Stomach Flu in Toddlers – Symptoms, Treatments and Home Remedies
Functional Play For Toddlers – Why is it Important and Top Ways to Encourage
Top 10 Language Activities For Toddlers to Boost Language Development
Top 8 Easy Painting Activities For Toddlers
When Will a Toddler Start Scribbling?