Juice boxes, sports drinks, soda and lemonade; with all these tempting sugary drinks around, it can be hard for us to get enough plain old milk into our kids’ bellies. I had my share of Tang and Kool-Aid back in the day, but I also guzzled down a lot of milk with meals. Now that I have two kids, I want to make sure they are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and exercise to make their bones strong and healthy.
Best Bones Forever , sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, is a fantastic resource for girls and parents of girls.. They recently sponsored a dance contest to inspire kids to have fun and exercise to grow healthy bones. Your kids might enjoy watching some of the dance contest videos featuring girls getting their “Best Bones Forever” groove on.
While you’re there, check out this guide and interactive chart on BBF’s site to see if your daughter is getting enough calcium for healthy bones.
According to the current recommendation of the USDA, adults and children should have two to three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese every day. Tofu, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils, canned sardines, canned salmon and other fish with edible bones are also good sources of calcium.
The best way to make sure your kids get enough calcium is to make eating calcium-rich foods a daily habit. In our house, milk is the only dinnertime drink option for the kids. They enjoy yogurt and cheese in their lunches, and they sometimes snack on cereal with milk. Some families routinely drink calcium-fortified fruit juices or soy milk, especially if their kids don’t like or can’t tolerate milk.
This Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill is one of my favorite ways to get heart- and brain-healthy and calcium-rich canned salmon into my family’s diet. Not only is it inexpensive to make, but it is versatile. You can serve it over greens, stuff it in a pita, or eat it on crackers. However you serve it, it’s a super combination of tastes. This recipe is adapted from the HEARTy Salmon Salad recipe from City Harvest food rescue program .
Recipe: Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill
A fresh salad high in calcium.
- 15 oz. canned wild salmon
- ¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise, or plain nonfat or low fat yogurt
- 1 lemon, juice only, 1/4 cup
- 1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
- 1/4 – 1/2 yellow or white onion, finely diced (1 cup), or use celery
- 10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
- 4 pita pockets, whole wheat or white, for serving (optional)
- Drain the salmon in a colander, retaining any skin or bones (they are edible and very healthy.)
- In a medium bowl, combine the salmon, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill and onions and stir to combine. Gently mix in the peas. Serve it immediately stuffed inside the pita pockets (optional), or chill the salad until you are ready to serve it, up to 24 hours.