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How to Build Strong Bones

Strong Bones
Calcium is important for children and teens who are growing rapidly and who need to build strong bones.

Along with Calcium, Vitamin D is also important for building strong bones because it helps the body absorb and use calcium. Physical activity can help, too.


Make it milk at mealtime. If your kids don’t like “plain” milk, serve chocolate- or strawberry-flavored milk instead. Enroll your kids in the lunch milk program at school. Keep grab-and-go milk containers handy.

Work Milk Group foods into meals and snacks. Prepare a pizza with mozzarella cheese for lunch; offer yogurt or cheese sticks for snacks; and top salads, soups, casseroles or tacos with reduced-fat shredded cheese at dinner. You’ll find more ways to use ingredients with calcium in Healthy Living Recipes for Kids.

Sneak in some milk in place of water. Use it when preparing hot cereals, soups, pudding, rice and baking mixes.

Look for kid-friendly fortified foods. Some foods are fortified with calcium. Some, such as Kraft 2% Milk Singles, are fortified with vitamin D, too. Check the Nutrition Facts label to be sure.

Serve green veggies. Broccoli and spinach can contribute to calcium intake while providing other important nutrients.

Let the Nutrition Facts panel lead you to calcium. You might also see “good source of calcium” or “excellent source of calcium” on packages. A food with 10% to 19% of the Daily Value for calcium per serving is a “good” source; a food with 20% or more of the Daily Value is an “excellent” source.

Make an impact with physical activity. Kids and teens need at least 60 minutes daily. To help them build strong bones, encourage walking, running, jumping, dancing, volleyball and push-ups.

Set a good example! Show your kids how important strong bones are by making healthful food choices and getting plenty of physical activity yourself. They’re likely to follow in your footsteps.