What Should Your Kids Eat? Why Calcium is Important

What your child eats during his or her formative years is vital to his or her development. If you've established healthy meal plans in your home, you're on the right track to ensuring your family grows up with all the nourishment they need.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013, prepared by Nutrition Australia, are a great resource for parents across the country. They state that children should eat nutritious foods to support their development, and be physically active every day.

The National Health and Medical Research Council also has plenty of information available on childhood nutrition. It recommends kids eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruit, dairy products, protein sources and cereals.

Dairy foods in particular are hugely important for young people. Milk, cheese, yoghurt and other products contain at least 10 essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins A and B12, calcium and magnesium.

The calcium content of dairy products is what helps build strong bones in kids. It's recommended by Nutrition Australia that children consume between 700mg and 1300mg of calcium a day, depending on their age.

Luckily, it's easy to satisfy this requirement. Three serves of dairy a day is usually enough to give kids the calcium they need. A serve is equivalent to a glass of milk, two slices of cheese or a small pottle of yoghurt.
Calcium has an important role to play in preventing decay in your children's teeth, too.  If they get tired of plain old milk and cheese, you can get creative with how they eat their dairy.

Whip up a milkshake or even a smoothie with banana and yoghurt. Melt cheese on toast and add Vegemite for a tasty take on a toastie, or cut hard cheese into fun shapes and serve it up with carrots and celery for a healthy snack in between meals.

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