Maintaining Calcium Levels with a Dairy-free Diet
Many parents express concern over whether or not their child gets enough calcium if they follow a dairy free diet. While adequate calcium during the early years of development is certainly important, there are many non-dairy food options to help achieve this. According to the National Institute of Health, children ages 1-3 require 700 mg daily, and children ages 4-8 need 1000 mg daily (additional age-related guidelines can be found online). Below is a list of dairy free food options that contain calcium.
- spinach – 1 cup cooked – 240 mg
- kale – cooked, 1 cup – 94 mg
- bread, 1 slice, white – 73 mg
- broccoli, raw, 1/2 cup – 21 mg
- almonds, 1 oz – 80 mg
- oats, 1 package instant – 100 mg
- chickpeas, cooked, 1 cup – 80 mg
- kiwi, 1 cup – 50 mg
- acorn squash, 1 cup, cooked – 90 mg
- tofu – 1/2 cup – 253 mg
- almond milk, fortified, 8 oz – 400 mg
- kelp, 3 oz – 1000 mg
The above list is used to show a few examples however there are many other great sources. If you have concerns about your child’s calcium intake I recommend completing a food journal for 2-3 days tracking your child’s typical diet. Refer to online guides or speak with your physician to assess an average calcium intake for the day. If the goal isn’t being met, find creative ways to increase calcium-rich foods in your child’s diet.