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Helping Kids Build Strong Bones: Diet Tips for Ages 5-10

Strong bones are important for kids of all ages, but they’re especially important during the early years of growth and development. That’s because kids ages 5-10 are building their peak bone mass, which is the highest amount of bone density they’ll achieve in their lifetime.

Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to help kids build strong bones. Here are some tips:

1. Make sure kids get enough calcium.

Strong bones need calcium more than anything else. Kids ages 5-10 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding
  • Leafy green vegetables: kale, spinach, collard greens
  • Fortified foods: orange juice, cereal, bread
  • Canned fish with bones: salmon, sardines, tuna
2. Help kids get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Kids ages 5-10 need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Sunlight: exposure to sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D
  • Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel
  • Fortified foods: milk, cereal, orange juice
3. Encourage kids to eat lean protein.

Protein is essential for bone growth and repair. Good sources of lean protein include:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
4. Limit sugary drinks and processed foods.

Sugary drinks and processed foods are often low in nutrients and high in calories. Eating too many of these foods can lead to weight gain, which can put extra stress on bones. Instead, encourage kids to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

5. Set a good example.

One of the best ways to encourage kids to eat healthy is to set a good example yourself. Offer your child a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, and make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains yourself.


By following these tips, you can help your child build strong bones that will last a lifetime.

Here are some additional tips for making healthy eating fun and enjoyable for kids:
  • Get kids involved in meal planning and preparation. Let them help you choose recipes, wash vegetables, and set the table.
  • Make mealtimes a family affair. Sit down together and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Don’t force kids to eat foods they don’t like. Offer them a variety of healthy choices and let them decide what they want to eat.
  • Be patient. It may take some time for kids to develop a taste for healthy foods. But if you keep offering them healthy choices, they’ll eventually learn to enjoy them.

By following these tips, you can help your child develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

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