Kids from countries with a high dairy consumption may struggle to meet their calcium requirements when faced with tangy sterilized milk and the meager selection of pricey cheese in Beijing; lactose intolerance – especially common in children from Asian and African countries – can present an additional problem. This can become a real dilemma for parents, as calcium is a crucial mineral for growing kids: It is essential not only for bones and teeth, but also important in helping muscles function and blood clot.
Thankfully, China is awash with alternative calcium sources. Soybean milk and tofu, usually calcium-fortified, are widely available, and soybeans themselves are a great choice. Other options include your pick of the green and leafy vegetables from the local shop, sesame seeds, almonds, dried apricots, tinned fish with soft bones and fortified breakfast cereals.
There are many ways to sneak extra calcium into your child’s diet. For breakfast, make a bowl of oat porridge with milk topped with a dollop of yogurt and some chopped dried apricots, or whiz together a banana smoothie with yogurt, soy milk and flaked almonds when they get home from school. If a side of plain green vegetables is met with dismay, try adding them into quiches and omelettes, or sauces for pasta and noodles. Incorporate sesame seeds into your baking, or sprinkle over stir-fries.
|Age||Recommended Daily Portion|
|1-10 Years||1.5 – 2|
|11-18 Years||3 (girls)
What’s a “portion”?
|250ml dairy milk|
|250ml calcium-fortified soybean,rice, almond or oat milk|
|250ml calcium-fortified orange juice|
|40 cubic cm cheese|
|A cup of yogurt|
|60g of tofu|
|1/2 cup of soybeans|
|3 tbsp of sesame seeds|
|A small tin of salmon|
|Half a tin of sardines|
|6 cups of green and leafy vegetables|