Calcium is important at all ages for strong bones and teeth. You should eat 2-3 portions of dairy foods which are rich in calcium. A portion is 200ml of milk, 30g of cheese (a small matchbox), 150ml yoghurt or milk-based dessert such as rice pudding. An ideal calcium intake for adults is between 700mg to 1000mg a day, which can be achieved through eating the recommended 2-3 portions a day.
Suggested ways to include calcium
- For breakfast have cereal (calcium-fortified) with milk (or a milk substitute) or a glass of milk with toast.
- Use tinned sardines or pilchards (including the bones) instead of tuna in a sandwich or on toast.
- Add tofu to a stir fry packed with vegetables for lunch or dinner.
- Add yoghurt (or soya yoghurt) to fruit as a pudding or make custard or milk puddings.
- Try a glass of milk as a snack with crackers or fruit.
Low-fat dairy products have the same amount of calcium as the full-fat versions. You should choose appropriately for managing your weight and dietary intake. If you are choosing non-dairy sources of yoghurt or milk for example, check that they have added or are ‘fortified’ with calcium. You should also avoid sugary drinks and snacks, and if you choose a calcium-rich food which contains sugar, it is best to eat this as part of a meal, such as a dessert, instead of as a snack.
You should be able to meet your calcium needs through food sources. If you are concerned, you should consult with your doctor.