Delicious and Nutritious: Milkshakes can help tweens increase calcium intake

Delicious and Nutritious: Milkshakes can help tweens increase calcium intake

Need a good reason to have a milk shake, smoothie or some ice cream with your tween? It's good for them! I am here to justify my your summer indulgences in the name of the health of your tween!)

Your reason: Tweens need calcium.  Lots of it.  The tween and teen years are critical for bone development because most bone mass accumulates during this time. Those treats can help tweens get the calcium they need.

Are Tweens getting enough calcium?

Often, the answer is a resounding no.  Many tweens do not get sufficient amounts of calcium.  Less than 10 percent of girls and just more than 25 percent of boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium.

Just how much calcium to tweens need?

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) says that kids between 9 and 13 years of age need 1,300 milligrams of calcium.  That is significantly more than the 800 mgs needed by kids 4 to 8 year of age.

What does 1,300 mg look like? 

3 cups of milk (which contain approximately 300 mg/each) and servings of calcium rich food.

What are calcium rich foods?

Dairy.  I know you already knew that.  Calcium rich foods include spinach and raw broccoli, although the favorite in our house is calcium-fortified orange juice. This chart provides a good, easy-to-read breakdown of calcium in foods, but the best way to go if you are purchasing your food is to read the labels.

That said, I know as well as anyone that it is not easy to get your tween to do anything, let alone chug three cups of milk and go to town on raw broccoli.  Fear not!

How do I avoid a calcium battle with my tween?

In moderation, low-fat or fat-free ice cream and frozen yogurt are great calcium-rich treats for your tween, and here's a publication from the NICHD to prove it.

This leads me to the (very non-scientific) conclusion that milk shakes, in moderation, are the perfect calcium delivery system for summer, for you and your tween.  Smoothies are equally fun, and I'm thinking if you use the fortified OJ, some yogurt your tween's bones AND their taste buds will thank you.  Smoothies are a great opportunities to let tweens experiment in the kitchen. And if they work better with a recipe, there are a ton of options on the web, and this collection looks especially tasty.

What's your preference - milkshake or smoothie?

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