Calcium for KIDS

Calcium for KIDS

My child is lactose-intolerant. What are some good alternatives for calcium-rich, kid-friendly foods?

MILK IS A MUST for most kids to grow strong, healthy bones.  It is high in calcium and protein, fortified with vitamins A and D, and contains B vitamins and zinc.  Two cups a day are sufficient for children ages 2-8, while 3 cups are recommended for those 9-18 years old.  If your child has a lactose sensitivity/intolerance/allergy OR simply refuses to drink milk, there are many alternatives to ensure needs are met.

Milk or lactose sensitivity, intolerance, and allergy may not mean that ALL milk products must be avoided.  Some children can tolerate some milk-based products, but not all foods, while other kids can tolerate these milk products in small doses.  Sometimes taking a Lactaid pill before or with a meal can do the trick.  Consult with your Pediatrician or Registered Dietitian before “experimenting” with foods or supplements.

The following are the current RDAs (recommended dietary allowances) for calcium for kids:

  • Infants 0-6 months:  210 mg
  • Infants 6-12 months:  270 mg
  • Children 1-3 years:  500 mg
  • Children 4-8 years:  800 mg
  • Children 9-18 years:  1300 mg

Below is a list of foods and their calcium content in milligrams.  If a combination of these foods is still insufficient to meet your child’s needs, a supplement may be required.  Try offering the below foods (as tolerated) to provide dietary calcium, or contact Robin Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN, CSSD at for more information!


  • 1 cup skim milk:  301
  • 1 cup low-fat fruit yogurt:  345
  • 1 ounce part skim mozzarella cheese:  207
  • 1 cup Lactaid milk:  500
  • 1 cup calcium-fortified soy, rice, or almond milk:  300


  • ¾ cup Total Cereal:  258
  • 1 cup enriched cornmeal:  483
  • 1 cup enriched wheat flour:  423
  • 1 packet instant oatmeal:  100
  • 1 oz cooked white beans:  161


  • 1 cup collard greens:  357
  • 1 cup Rhubarb:  348
  • 1 cup spinach:  245
  • 1 cup soybeans (edamame):  261
  • 1 cup sweet potato:  88


  • 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice:  300 mg
  • 1 medium orange:  50
  • 10 dried figs:  169

*** Remember to always carefully read labels as each food product may differ along with their Calcium content.

Back to School

Back to School

It’s September and that means back-to-school for the kids!  Healthy balanced meals and snacks are important to fuel their brains and bodies for growth, studying, homework, and activities.  Try these 12 meals/snack for them and you too!  All are packed with protein and nutrients and are easy to prepare:

1.     Grilled cheese bites:  low-fat cheese on whole grain bread wtih added tomato or spaghetti sauce

2.     Deli roll ups:  turkey/chicken/ham/lean meats layered and rolled up with lowfat cheese around tomatoes or other vegetable, with added mustard to taste if desired

3.     Nut butter balls: mix peanut butter (or almond or another nut butter) in a bowl with cornflakes/whole grain flakes; shape into balls and roll in crushed nuts or graham crackers

4.     Pizza muffin:  Whole wheat English muffin topped with spaghetti sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese

5.     Fruit smoothie made with chosen milk, yogurt and frozen and/or fresh fruits and ice

6.     Baked apple, center scooped out, stuffed with apricots, peaches, cinnamon served with low-fat vanilla yogurt

7.     Cut up raw or steamed vegetable sticks (celery, carrots, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, olives, cherry tomatoes, peppers, avocado, cucumbers) dipped in hummus (or white bean or other bean puree) or lowfat yogurt dip (for example Greek yogurt with added spices)

8.     Whole grain waffle topped with low-fat yogurt and fruit

9.     Sandwich sliders:  Tuna, chicken, egg salad, turkey, etc. on mini whole grain rolls

10.  Quick quesadilla:  top a whole grain or corn tortilla with low-fat cheese, beans, and/or chicken, fold in half, microwave or place in toasted oven and top with salsa

11.  Frozen yogurt sandwiches:  place yogurt and sliced fruit between 2 whole grain graham crackers

12.  Yogurt parfaits:  layer yogurt, fruit, granola in a glass or cup and drizzle with honey/agave

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