How Much Calcium Do Kids Need?

young girl holding a glass of milk or plant-based beverage

Childhood and adolescence are the best times to build strong bones. Read on to learn how much calcium your kids need and get kid-friendly meal and snack ideas.

How much calcium do my kids need?

Age group Recommended amount per day Maximum amount per day
Children 4-8 years 1000 mg 2500 mg
Children 9-18 years 1300 mg 3000 mg

How do I help my kids get enough calcium? 

Encourage your kids to have calcium-rich foods regularly. Examples of calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified plant-based beverage, tofu and beans. Check this article for a detailed list of food sources of calcium. 

What are some kid-friendly calcium-rich meal and snack ideas? 

Simple calcium-rich snacks

  • Use Greek yogurt to make a yogurt granola mountain.

  • Try cheese cubes and apple slices cut into fun shapes.

  • Make kale chips as a healthy alternative to potato chips.

  • Pack hummus and crackers as a school snack.

  • Add peaches and blueberries to cottage cheese or ricotta.

  • Experiment with different flavours of smoothie by blending your kid’s favourite fruit with milk, yogurt or fortified plant-based beverage. Try this Ground Up Frog Smoothie.

  • Offer a glass of kefir with their afterschool snack.

Simple and fun calcium-rich meal ideas 

  • Make oatmeal, cream of wheat, pancakes and French toast with milk or fortified soy beverage.

  • Try homemade macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes made with milk, lasagne, broccoli and cheese quiche, cheese tortellini or cheese perogies.

  • Enjoy a tasty tofu stir fry for dinner.

  • Make cheese and bean quesadillas for a quick and easy dinner.

  • Make cream or milk based soups such as cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of broccoli or cream of asparagus.

  • Add kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans and tofu to tacos, chilli or tomato sauce for added calcium.

  • Use evaporated milk in your favourite mashed potato recipe.

Delicious calcium-rich desserts 

  • Make a smoothie or mango lassi. You can make them with yogurt, milk, fortified soy beverage and kefir.

  • Teach your kids how to make fruit and yogurt parfaitsyogurt pops or muesli.

  • Serve milk based desserts such as frozen yogurt, milk shakes and puddings.

  • Mix chocolate milk and regular milk for a tasty after dinner beverage.

  • Add a spoonful of skim milk powder to smoothies or hot chocolate.

How can a dietitian help?

A dietitian can review your child’s diet to make sure they are getting enough calcium. They will give you personalized suggestions on boosting calcium and other important nutrients your child needs to grow and be healthy. If you are struggling with picky eating, a dietitian can give you many tips and tricks. Connect with a dietitian today!

Bottom line

It is important that children and adolescents get enough calcium to build strong bones. When planning meals and snacks, make sure to include calcium-rich foods. If you have questions, speak to a dietitian.

You may also be interested in:

Food Sources of Calcium
Picky Eaters Commonly Asked Questions
Simple Lunch Solutions for Your Kids

This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada. The advice in this article is intended as general information and should not replace advice given by your dietitian or healthcare provider.


Last Update – January 9, 2023

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