Calcium for the Picky Eater’s Diet—A Parenting Sneak Attack

by Shelly Kramer
Calcium for the Picky Eater’s Diet—A Parenting Sneak Attack
Calcium is an essential nutrient for people at any age, but it’s especially important for children. I will confess to having kids who don’t drink milk, rarely eat yogurt, and eat cheese sporadically. While dairy products aren’t the sole source of calcium, it’s hard to get the recommended daily amount of calcium into your kids by way of food alone. If you’re struggling with calcium for the picky eater, even more difficult. And if you’ve got a dairy free situation, that’s a whole different set of challenges. For More on that, Read: Dairy Free Ways Moms Can Get Kids the Calcium They Need

How Much Calcium Do Kids Need, Anyway?

Let’s back up for a minute. What many parents don’t realize is that growing kids need calcium—and in a big way. How much calcium do kids need? Take a look at this chart from the National Institutes of Health on calcium needs for kids and teens. Calcium requirements for kids and teens Was that an eye opener for you? It was for me, and was something I wasn’t at all aware of until I joined the FitFormula Wellness team and started learning about the importance of calcium in people of all ages. Even more of an attention getter was a study by the USDA sharing that among children aged 9 to 13 years, only about 12 percent of girls and 17 percent of boys consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium. For older teens, only 10 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys consumed enough calcium daily. I don’t know about you, but that was a wakeup call for me, as my tween girls are definitely in that very large group of kids not getting enough calcium daily. Add this to the list of things this slacker mom was not paying enough attention to. The good news is that unlike other things I regularly fail at as a parent, this one is easily fixed.

How to Increase Calcium for the Picky Eater

As I mentioned earlier, calcium is easy to get from dairy foods and not quite as easy to get from other foods. And if you’re trying to get calcium for the picky eater, it’s even more complicated. Some common sources of calcium include leafy greens, oranges, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, sardines, Cheerios, and canned salmon. If you need calcium for the picky eater, however, (or even just a normal kid) chances are good some of those options are no bueno from the get-go. There are other sources of absorbable calcium, largely from plants, that include the following:
  • Leafy greens like collards, mustard, kale, Bok choy and broccoli
  • Almonds (and almond butter), pistachios, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans
  • Beans: Great northern, chickpeas, kidney, navy, black, edamame, adzuki
You can also eat calcium-fortified soy, calcium-set tofu, calcium-fortified nut milks and calcium-fortified orange juice. I have pretty ordinary, average kids with fairly well-developed palates and who love cooking and eating. That said, there are a whole lot of food items listed above that my girls want no part of. Canned salmon, please. Sardines? No way, Jose. That means when it comes to their diets, they fall into the calcium for picky eater’s category.

A Powdered Supplement Makes Calcium For the Picky Eater a Breeze

Once I learned that I was not even close to hitting the bar in terms of ensuring my growing tweens were getting enough calcium, it didn’t take much to convince me that a supplement was a solution that made the most sense. And have you ever taken a calcium supplement your own self? If so, you’ll know that those pills are gigantic, so getting a kid to take that can be a challenge. That’s where a powdered supplement can make all the difference. I’ll admit to bias on that front since I serve as the CMO for FitFormula Wellness, but hey, information is power. And I’ve learned a lot in the last six months about the importance of calcium and the various ways you can get it. Whether you get calcium into your kids by way of FitFormula’s Cal-EZ, Calcium + D, use another supplement, or totally change up their eating habits, what matters most is trying to make sure you get them what they need. For me and for other moms focused on calcium for the picky eater’s diet, a powdered supplement makes getting them the calcium they need a breeze.

Sneaky Ways to Use a Powdered Supplement and Trick Your Picky Eater

A flavorless, tasteless powdered Calcium + D supplement like FitFormula’s Cal-EZ (the D is required to assist with the body’s absorption of calcium, by the way) can be super easy to get into food that you can trick your picky eater into eating. Put it into morning cereal or oatmeal, sprinkle it into scrambled eggs, or put it into a healthy smoothie. For an evening meal, you can hide Cal-EZ in mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, or even in that ketchup that they insist upon dipping everything in.

Calcium-Rich or Calcium-Deficient?

I hope if nothing else I’ve made you stop and think about the importance of calcium for kids and tweens and helped you figure out whether you’ve got that covered or, if like me, you weren’t anywhere close, and didn’t know it. If you’re lucky, you’ve got milk drinkers and cheese eaters and yogurt gobblers, so you’ve got kids with a calcium rich diet and no worries on that front. Dairy is the absolute best source of calcium, so if you can check that box, you’re probably in great shape. But if you’ve got a lactose intolerant kid, kids who don’t get much dairy, or just generally picky eaters who aren’t interested in any of those sources of calcium mentioned earlier, it’s a different situation. It absolutely never occurred to me that my kids were calcium-deficient until I started learning more about the sources of calcium and thinking about how much—or in my case, how little—of those foods my kids eat on a regular basis. But I am very glad to have figured it out now, when they’re 12 and in the midst of those years where they need a whopping 1,300 mg of calcium on a daily basis, playing a ton of sports, and needing strong bones.

Want to Try It?

If you’re interested in seeing how easy it is to increase calcium for the picky eater on a daily basis, try FitFormula’s Cal-EZ Calcium + D today and get it for 50 percent off your first order using code: FitFormula50. When you try it, we definitely want to learn from your creativity, so be sure to tell us what foods or drinks you think of to add Cal-EZ to. Even better, share a photo on Instagram and tag us @FitFormulaWellness and show us your brilliance! Other resources on this topic: 5 Power Foods All Kids Need //" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10 Best Calcium Rich Foods for Kids Five Healthy Winter Recipes Your Children Will Love SaveSave