The Importance of Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D are two nutrients that are very important. We all need to ensure they are in our diet for healthy growth and development, especially for our children.  Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, very important for the growing children attending our clubs!  What many people don’t realize is that one of the main roles of vitamin D is to help absorb the calcium in our bodies from the foods we eat.  In turn, eating calcium rich foods can be of no benefit if your body does not have the vitamin D it requires to help you absorb it.  Vitamin D also plays a very important role in our immune system.  Since vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and we live in a climate that we get limited sun exposure throughout the year, we may have to consume a little bit extra of the foods that are a good source of vitamin D during the Fall and Winter months.

Below are some Calcium and Vitamin D rich foods that you should try to offer in your clubs, and at home, to ensure that everyone is getting enough:

Calcium:

  • milk, powder milk, cheese, yogurt
  • fortified orange juice (labels will say this)
  • spinach, turnip greens
  • salmon, beans, almonds

Vitamin D: 

  • milk, yogurt, eggs (specifically the yolk)
  • margarine
  • fortified orange juice
  • pork, salmon, trout, tuna

An Example of a nutritious calcium and vitamin D rich breakfast:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Slice of whole wheat toast with margarine
  • A piece of hard cheese
  • A glass of milk 
  • A side of fruit (berries, banana, apple, etc.)

Information was retrieved from: www.pennutrition.com

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

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