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Best for Bones Food

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Calcium and Vitamin D: Good for Her Bones

By the time your daughter graduates high school, she will have developed most of her bone mass. This means that right now is your best chance to help her build strong, healthy bones. Foods high in calcium and vitamin D and lots of bone-strengthening activity will help lower her risk of developing fractures or osteoporosis later in life.

This section provides in-depth information on calcium and vitamin D. Here, you'll find:

  • Ideas to help your daughter get the calcium and vitamin D she needs
  • Resources and tools to help you encourage your daughter to eat meals and snacks with calcium and vitamin D
  • Answers to common questions like, "What if my daughter is lactose intolerant or doesn't like milk or other dairy products?"

Calcium Counts!

Your daughter needs 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium every day. Milk is a great source of calcium — just one serving of low-fat or fat-free milk (1 cup) has about 300 mg. You can find calcium in lots of other foods too, like calcium-fortified orange juice (300 mg) or low-fat or fat-free yogurt (up to 450 mg).

Try some of these tips to help your daughter get more calcium.

The Deal with Vitamin D

Your bones can't do their job with calcium alone. They need vitamin D too — 600 international units (IU) every day. Vitamin D actually helps bones use calcium from foods like yogurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, or almonds. See how much vitamin D your family needs.

Lots of foods have calcium, but vitamin D is harder to find.

Foods with vitamin D include:

  • Fortified milk (100 IU per 1-cup serving)
  • Canned tuna in oil (200 IU in a 3-ounce can)
  • Salmon (360 IU in a 3.5-ounce serving)
  • Fortified cereal (40 IU per serving)

To help your daughter get the vitamin D she needs, serve a tuna casserole or salmon loaf for dinner with a glass of milk. Or check out the chart to see more foods fortified with vitamin D. (Not all brands are fortified with vitamin D, so check the food labels to make sure.) You can also get vitamin D from sunlight.

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