Paediatric Nutrition

supporting wellbeing with nutrition education

good sources of calcium

Good sources of calcium in the UK diet include dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt; calcium is also found in tinned fish (where small bones are eaten), nuts (especially almonds), seeds (especially sesame) dried fruits and vegetables. White wheat flour is fortified in the UK with 120mg Calcium per 100g.  Calcium is needed for developing strong bones and healthy teeth; other important functions for calcium include blood clotting, muscle contraction and maintaining normal blood pressure. Good sources are especially important throughout infancy and again during the teenage years to support the rapid bone growth and mineralisation that occurs then. For all children with cow’s milk allergy, take care to consume adequate calcium, checking below the recommended intakes and also the nutritional composition of milk alternatives for calcium content as well as calories, protein and other vitamins.

Is my child getting enough calcium?
Prolonged poor calcium intake will lead to brittle bones that break more easily, both in childhood, teenage years and in later adulthood.  Use the good sources of calcium list below and a quick check on recommended intakes to check if your child is getting enough. All children should be taking a Vitamin D supplement containing a minimum of 10ug (400 Interantional Units) daily until 5 years and thereafter for a minimum of the 6 Winter/Spring months to maintain good levels.

Good to know information about calcium
Absorption of dietary calcium from the intestine ranges from 25-50%, increasing when intake is low and reducing when intake is high.  Absorption of calcium from breast milk is very efficient at around 66% and from formula milk around 40%.  Uptake of calcium by bone is regulated by Vitamin D, deficiency of which will limit bone mineralisation even in the presence of adequate calcium.

Recommended Intakes

  • Infants need 5-600mls formula when weaning to solids;
  • Breast fed infants depend on mum’s nutrition, and calcium supplementation is advisable for mum
    • Daily calcium needs during infancy are 525mg 
  • School age children should aim to have 3 portions of dairy products per day
    • Daily calcium needs age 1-10 years are 350-550mg
  • Older children should aim for 5 portions per day to meet increased calcium needs
    • Daily calcium needs age 11-18 years are 800-1000mg
  • Other high calcium foods should be taken daily if dairy intake is reduced or excluded
  • A portion is the amount stipulated for each food on the good sources of calcium guide

Good Sources of Calcium

Portion               Food                                            Calcium (mg)
200mls cow’s milk 230
200mls soya milk 240
150g natural yoghurt 300
150g fruit yoghurt 240
30g cheddar cheese 200
30g soya cheese 125
2 tinned pilchards 330
4 tinned sardines 460
120g tinned salmon 105
1 tsp tahini (sesame seeds) 135
30g almonds 65
10 apricots 75
1 dried fig 50
90g spinach 145
3 tbls baked beans 70
portion broccoli 35
portion spring greens 65
1 slice white bread 30
1 slice wholemeal bread 20

Source “The Composition of Foods” 5th Ed; McCance & Widdowson; Royal Society of Chemistry

1 Comment

  1. izzy

    great blog ! very helpful

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