We moms are often so busy caring for our families that we stop thinking about our own health and nutrition. But there are perils to ignoring your body; according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one in three women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. Luckily, calcium, which is the key nutrient for promoting bone health and preventing osteoporosis, comes in many delicious forms. (Milk, the most familiar of them, milk, is readily available to most moms, precisely because we're always exhorting our little ones to drink it.) And calcium doesn't just benefit our bones. The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements reports that calcium may also help manage weight and regulate blood pressure and hypertension.
Meeting the recommended daily calcium intake (1,000mg for women 19-50, and 1,200mg for women over 50) is easier than you might think. Here we’ve rounded up five easy ways to add calcium to your daily diet:
Milk (including lactose-free milk), yogurt, and cheeses are all excellent natural sources of calcium. An 8-ounce serving of plain, low-fat yogurt delivers 415 mg of calcium, while 8 ounces of nonfat milk and 1 1/2 ounces of cheddar cheese each deliver around 300 mg of calcium. Favorite dairy recipes from Circle of Moms members include homemade macaroni and cheese and yogurt smoothies.
2. Leafy Greens
"Remember, lots of vegetables have calcium too, not just dairy," shares Jeramie I. "Especially leafy greens like spinach.” Other veggies loaded with calcium include kale, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, and broccoli. Our members have shared a wealth of family-friendly leafy green and vegetable recipes, like Diane E.'s Strawberry Spinach Salad, Sheri S.'s Spinach Nuggets, and professional chef Amanda Haas's Roasted Broccoli Your Kids Will Love.
3. Calcium-Fortified Foods
Another way to up your daily calcium intake is via calcium-fortified foods, as mother-of-three Stephanie S. relays: "There are so many things out there nowadays that are fortified with calcium. Juices, cereals, breads, pastas."
"Canned salmon is a good source of calcium," shares Stephanie, and she's absolutely right. A 3-ounce serving of salmon packs nearly 200 mg of calcium. Other calcium-rich seafoods include sardines, oysters, and shrimp. If you've never cooked seafood or fish before, start with Sarah G.'s recipe for grilled salmon or Sheryl R.'s easy shrimp with rice.
Beans are another great source of calcium, and many moms find them to be an inexpensive and versatile staple in the family kitchen. September W. recommends white beans and chick peas (garbanzos); others moms praise soy beans and tofu (which is made from soy beans). Both dried and canned beans can be used to whip up family-friendly bean dishes like chili, rice and beans, cannellini bean soup, crockpot bean and beef stew, and garbanzo bean hummus and falafel.
How do you get your daily dose of calcium?