What about Calcium and Vitamin D?

How do you get calcium and vitamin D if you don’t drink milk? First talk with your child’s provider about what products or diet changes may help your child. You may also find it helpful to see a registered dietitian. Below are suggestions for alternatives.

Calcium

Children and teens who are lactose intolerant may have little or no milk in their diet. However, milk and dairy products are a major source of calcium. If your child is lactose intolerant, be sure that he or she gets enough calcium. Calcium is needed for growing and repairing bones throughout life. Calcium may also help prevent some diseases.

The amount of calcium your child needs will vary by age:

Child’s age Calcium (mg per day)
0 to 6 months 200 mg
6 months to 1 year 260 mg
1 to 3 years 700 mg
4 to 8 years 1,000 mg
9 to 18 years 1,300 mg

Many nondairy foods are high in calcium, including:

  • Green vegetables, such as collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, and kale

  • Fish with soft, edible bones, such as salmon and sardines

Other nondairy foods that are good sources of calcium include:

  • Tofu

  • Orange juice with added calcium

  • Soy milk with added calcium

  • Breakfast cereals with added calcium

Always talk with your child’s healthcare provider. Your child’s provider may prescribe a calcium supplement if your child can’t get enough calcium from his or her diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. It’s important that your child’s diet has enough vitamin D. Sources of vitamin D include eggs and liver.

Children under 1 year old should have a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU a day. Children over 1 year old should have 600 IU of vitamin D a day.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center