Baby calcium food

10 Best Calcium Rich Foods For Babies And Toddlers

Children grow at a rapid pace and require a nutritionally adequate diet that supports this rapid growth. Calcium plays an important role in the growing up years and knowledge about calcium rich foods for babies and toddlers is essential for parents.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE This blogpost contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information read the full disclosure.

In this post, I am going to cover everything you need to know about calcium rich foods for kids and some bonus calcium rich recipes for toddlers. If you have a picky eater, you are going to thank me.

Let’s get started.


Calcium is an important mineral that supports bone and teeth development.

Not just that, calcium is also important for;

  1. Proper nerve function, sending and receiving nervous system signals
  2. Muscle function, proper muscle contraction and relaxation
  3. Maintaining proper hormone levels in the body
  4. Needed for maintaining a normal heartbeat
  5. For clotting of blood


How much calcium does a child need?

1-3 yr olds  700 mg/day

4-8 yr olds 1000 mg/day

9-13 yr olds 1300 mg/day

14- 18 yr olds 1300mg/day


Babies get their calcium from breast milk or formula.

Babies younger than 6 months old need 200 mg of calcium a day and babies 6 to 11 months old need 260 mg of calcium a day.

Do note babies should only consume breast milk or formula. Do not give cow’s milk or any other animal milk to babies younger than 1 year of age.

To get an idea of how I pair foods and build snacks to aid maximum absorption of nutrients you must check my ebook on toddler snack recipes.

It includes 36 snack recipes for toddlers and adults alike that fill in the nutritional gaps of the day. Its your one-stop resource for all things snacks. Get the book here.


Once babies start solids including foods rich in calcium is important. Though cow milk or any other milk should be avoided under age 1, other milk products like yogurt and low salt cheese like paneer can be started gradually by 8-9 months of age.

Here is a list of calcium rich foods for kids for your reference:


Milk and Milk products

Cows milk, buffalo milk, goat milk can be started after 1 year of age.

Whole fat cows milk is recommended until age 2

Calcium content:

Cows milk (2% ) contains about 120 mg calcium/100ml

Goat Milk contains about 134 mg calcium /100 ml

Buffalo Milk  contains about 210 mg /100 ml

Other milk products to try with babies 8-9 months and older.

Fresh homemade curd 149 mg /100 gm

Paneer (Cottage cheese) 200mg /100 gm

Cheese 721 mg /100 gm

source: USDA and IAP

Though with paneer and cheese caution should be exercised. These foods are high in saturated fats and sodium, limit intake to 1-2 cubes of paneer at a time, and small portions of grated cheese as toppings on foods for toddlers.

When buying cheese avoid processed cheese and look for natural hard cheeses containing minimal salt. Goats cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese are great cheese options for toddlers. Check my recommendations for natural cheese here.

Many children however, don’t particularly like the taste of milk or dairy products, if you are worried about your child not getting enough calcium, don’t, read on to find more sources of calcium for toddlers that don’t drink milk.

2. Soy

Soy in the form of fortified soymilk, tofu set in calcium sulfate, edamame, tempeh can be included in the toddler’s diet in various ways to increase calcium intake.

Tofu can contain about 200 mg/100 gms of calcium depending on how it’s prepared.

Food ideas: Sauteed tofu, tofu chilly, tofu scramble, curries with tofu/soy nuggets added as a meat replacement.

3. Broccoli & certain dark green vegetables

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and dark green leaves like kale, collard greens, spinach leaves, turnip leaves, amaranth leaves, and watercress are all great sources of calcium. When it comes to green vegetables it is important to mix it up and try different combinations.

Food ideas: Broccoli soup for babies, broccoli paratha, broccoli patty, watercress salad, add kale to pesto, amaranth leaves to paratha, Broccoli dosa wraps.

4. Ragi (Finger Millet)

Millets like ragi are traditional first foods for babies in India. Ragi is a rich source of calcium at about 344 mg/100 gms. It’s easy to digest for babies, gluten-free, and a super nutritious grain for children. Consider adding ragi to your baby’s diet as a calcium-rich food for baby teeth and bone development.

Here is a post I wrote recently on why millets are good for babies.

Food ideas: Ragi porridge for babies, ragi pancakes for toddlers, ragi dosas, ragi idlis, ragi- whole wheat chappati.

5. Beans and Lentils

Beans like white beans, baked beans, kidney beans (rajma), chickpeas, and lentils like black gram dal (urad dal), pigeon peas (tuvar dal), bengal gram (chana dal ) are calcium rich foods for babies.

The Indian diet uses these beans and lentils in very effective combinations to make some lip-smacking foods. It’s hard not to enjoy beans and lentils in our part of the world, and it’s just an added bonus that these superfoods are some of the best sources of vegetarian protein, iron, and calcium rich food for babies.

Food ideas: In vegetarian side dishes, dals, lentil and bean soups, hummus, bean parathas, curries, khichdi (rice and lentil dish), bean chilly, baked beans on toast. Here are some lentil recipes for toddlers. Read here for more recipes using lentils for kids.

6. Sesame seeds

100 gms of sesame seeds contain up to 975 mg of calcium! While one cannot consume sesame seeds in such a large amount, it makes sense to include some sesame seeds in homemade hummus, tahini and use sesame seeds in ladoos or energy balls.

Including such calcium-rich recipes for toddlers daily should get more preference over cookies or chips.

Food ideas: As part of energy bars and energy balls, tahini, hummus.

Add a tablespoon of tahini to your toddlers morning oats porridge, or use tahini as a dipping sauce for cut veggies.

Date And Sesame Bliss Balls

7. Almonds

Nuts are a good source of calcium, but among nuts, the highest calcium content is in almonds at 248 mg/100 gms.

Food ideas: Almond nut powder on porridge, almond butter with whole wheat crackers or chapati, or almonds in pesto sauce.

Here is a quick recipe to make your own homemade nut butter.

8. Green peas

Green peas contain about 25 mg of calcium/100 gms. They can easily be added to a number of dishes or used as a side making them a versatile vegetable to work with.

Food ideas: Green peas patty, Pea soup, added to rice dishes, added to upma, poha.

9. Amaranth

Amaranth (rajgira) is used in many traditional Indian recipes. Both the leaf and the grains are considered nutritious. Of particular importance is the amount of calcium in Amaranth at 159 mg/100gms.

The grains need to be sprouted for 2-3 days in order to reduce the antinutrients present in them. Once sprouted you can cook amaranth similar to a rice or couscous dish.

Traditionally amaranth flour is used to make ladoos in Indian homes.

Food ideas: As porridge, in soups and stews, amaranth flour pancakes, amaranth flour ladoos, in salads, or as amaranth patty.

Amaranth Ladoo Recipe

This recipe includes amaranth flour and crushed almonds building up the calcium content and making it a calcium-rich food for kids

10. Okra

You may be surprised to find this vegetable on the list but Okra contains about 82 mg/100 gm of vegetable. That’s a good amount of calcium per serving. Okra is a commonly used vegetable in Indian homes with most kids loving Indian okra dishes.


Traditionally cows milk is looked at as the main source of calcium, but it is important to include a variety of calcium rich solid foods in the child’s diet. Some children may not like the taste of milk, while some may have milk allergies.

When parents only look to milk as an option for calcium it can lead to other problems like force-feeding, adding sugary syrups/powders to make milk taste good which in turn promotes a liking for more engineered foods with artificial colors and flavorings over natural flavors of whole foods.

Milk and milk products are also high in saturated fats and consuming these in large amounts increases the risk of childhood obesity.

Toddlers by nature eat very little which makes it vitally important to include calcium rich solid foods instead of filling them up on liquids like milk.

One of the side effects of drinking too much milk is an increased risk of developing childhood anemia. Calcium rich foods are known to hinder the absorption of iron-rich foods. Limiting milk intake to 2 cups a day for toddlers is recommended.

To summarize for you, milk provides good amounts of calcium, but should not be looked at as the only source of calcium for kids.

Try and incorporate a variety of calcium rich solid foods alongside milk in the child’s daily diet.

In the case of lactose intolerance or dairy allergies look for fortified foods like fortified plant milk, calcium-fortified cereals, and the other non-dairy calcium-rich foods that I mentioned above in order to meet the daily recommendations of calcium in the child’s diet.


It is not necessary to offer fruit juices to children for nutrition. Once in awhile consumption is okay.

Fruit juices do not contain fiber, are high in sugars, and cause damage to teeth when consumed regularly.

Besides, filling up on liquids is never a good thing for little kids. Liquid foods take up stomach space and create a feeling of fullness.

The toddler fills up on liquid food with minimal nutrition and ends up not eating lunch/dinner or other solid foods that provide a wider variety of nutrients.

The occasional orange juice is definitely an option to get some calcium in. Some brands add Vit D to the orange juice too which helps in better absorption of calcium. But these types of juices are not something that needs to be incorporated into the daily diet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced in recent guidelines on juice, that children under one year of age should not drink juice at all and for older kids limit juice consumption to very small quantities. (source)

Thus, when incorporated judiciously to the child’s diet, calcium-fortified foods like orange juice have some benefits, but should not be looked at as a daily source of the calcium nutrient.

How to ensure the child gets enough calcium?

Other than including the list of calcium rich foods for babies and toddlers mentioned above, try and include some of these alternative sources of calcium to the child’s diet.

Sweet potato

At 30 mg calcium/100 gms, sweet potato is a great way to add more calcium to the diet of babies and toddlers.

Food ideas: sweet potato as stuffing in parathas, baked sweet potato fries, sweet potato fritters, sweet potato mash.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk offers about 16 mg of calcium /100 ml

Food ideas: Add to curries, cook porridge in coconut milk, smoothies with coconut milk.

Dried figs

Dried figs are one of the best dried fruits for calcium.   2 medium-sized dried figs contain about 27 mg of calcium.

While it is not advisable to offer large amounts of dried frigs to kids because of its high sugar content, it still makes for a significant amount of calcium that can be easily added as a topping to any food to boost the nutrient content of the food.

Food ideas: Most children love dried figs, you can easily chop them up in appropriate sizes and add to porridge, smoothies, or in energy bars.

Related reading: Oats recipes for babies and toddlers, includes my favorite fig oats porridge.

Sprouted legumes, seeds, grains.

Sprouting of legumes, seeds, and grains increases the nutritive value of the food, by increasing the bioavailability of nutrients.

Sprouting not only increases calcium content in the beans but also reduces some of the antinutrients like phytic acid that block absorption.

The most common sprouts are alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, and other varieties of bean sprouts.

Vit D + Exercise

Other important points to consider when thinking of increasing calcium content in your child’s diet is to include Vit D rich foods  (egg yolks, mushrooms, and oily fish) and time in the sun (early morning and evenings) engaged in play both of which are essential for calcium absorption.

Vit D + Exercise along with calcium rich foods makes strong bones.

There you go,

I hope this information helps you as you plan those calcium rich meals for your kids. Which calcium rich foods does your toddler enjoy? Do you have a special recipe to share? Leave me a comment below.


Calcium. (2017). [Blog] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].

New Recommended Daily Amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D. (2011). MedlinePlus, [online] (Winter11 Volume 5), p.12. Available at: html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].

The Relationship Between Cow’s Milk and Stores of Vitamin D and Iron in Early Childhood. (2012). PEDIATRICS, 131(1), pp.X29-X29.

All About Calcium and Why it Matters


Read time: 3 minutes

What to know about meeting your and your child’s calcium needs
  • Learn why calcium is critical for your health

  • How much calcium is needed by age

  • Which foods are good sources of calcium

What does calcium do?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.2 While this mineral is mostly known for its role in keeping our bones and teeth strong, it also helps with several other bodily functions, including:

  • Blood clotting

  • Sending and receiving nervous system signals

  • Muscle contraction and relaxation

  • Hormone release

  • Maintaining a normal heartbeat1,2

Getting enough calcium is critical from infancy through adulthood. When you’re not getting enough of this mineral in your diet, the body pulls calcium from your bones when it needs more.1 This means that low calcium intake over time will cause bones to weaken, putting a child at risk for rickets and an adult at risk for osteoporosis.1

How much calcium is needed?

Below are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for calcium:

  • Babies 0 – 6 months: 200 mg

  • Infants 7 – 12 months: 260 mg

  • Children 1 – 3 years: 700 mg

  • Children 4 – 8 years: 1,000 mg

  • Teens 9 – 18 years: 1,300 mg

  • Adults 19 – 50: 1,000mg

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 1,000mg1

Food sources of calcium

While most people link calcium with dairy, in addition to dairy there are many other food sources of calcium to include in the diet.

Getting a variety of calcium-rich foods can also increase the amount of nutrients consumed. For example, plant foods high in calcium, such as greens, beans, and nuts, are also high in vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants.

Below are some foods that can help meet calcium needs. Be sure to only provide foods and food textures that are appropriate for your child’s age and stage:

  • Dairy (milk*, yogurt, cheese)

  • Fortified foods and beverages such as: whole grain cereal, whole wheat bread, orange juice, tofu, nondairy beverages such as soy and almond milk, tofu

  • Canned salmon and sardines, both with bones

  • Spinach, turnip greens, kale, Chinese cabbage, broccoli

  • Soybeans, chia seeds, pinto beans

*Children under 1 year should not drink cow’s milk. Read more here: How Do I Introduce Milk to my Toddler

Certain substances like oxalic acid (found in spinach, collard greens, sweet potato, and beans) as well as wheat bran prevent calcium absorption to some degree. 5,6 But know that these foods provide many other nutrients that are important for health, so it’s important to keep them in our diet and simply aim for many sources of calcium throughout the day.

Have questions about including calcium-rich foods in your or your child’s diet? Reach out to our team of registered dietitians and lactation consultants for free! They’re here to help on our free to live chat from Monday – Friday 8am - 6pm (ET), and Saturday – Sunday 8am - 2pm (ET). Chat Now!

Calcium in your baby and toddler’s diet

While breastmilk and infant formula usually provide all the calcium needed for babies, it is important to begin offering calcium-rich foods once your little one is ready for solids and throughout their childhood.4,7

In fact, childhood through the teenage years is the most important time for building good bone mass for life. 7 So getting in the habit of eating foods rich in calcium from an early age is important for long term bone health.

Dairy foods high in calcium are also typically high in protein and fat, both of which are also important for your baby and toddler. Feeding your little one a healthy and varied diet full of whole foods will help provide them with not only the calcium they need a but also many other nutrients.

One fact to keep in mind as you plan your and your children’s diet is that the body absorbs calcium best when it’s spread out through the day, and not eaten all at once.3 3

Learn about: Why Yogurt is a Great First Food for Baby

Tips to getting enough calcium
Provide a variety of calcium-rich foods to your baby or toddler.

The goal is to introduce several different food sources of calcium throughout the day to not only help build your baby and toddler’s taste preferences, but also to aim for a good calcium intake average over the week.

Make sure you provide foods and textures that are appropriate for your baby’s age and oral motor skills.

Here’s a cheat sheet of foods with amounts of calcium by serving:

  • Firm tofu made with calcium sulfate: ½ cup contains about 250 mg

  • Mozzarella, part skim: 1 oz contains about 220 mg

  • Plain yogurt: 4 oz (1/2 cup) contains about 200 mg

  • Sardines (with bones): 1 oz contains about 105 mg

  • Cow’s milk*: 4 ounces contains 150 mg

  • Soybeans, cooked: ½ cup contains about 130 mg

  • Spinach, cooked: ½ cup contains about 123 mg

  • Turnip greens and kale, cooked: ½ cup contains about 95 mg

  • Chia seeds: 1 Tablespoon contains about 75 mg

  • Pinto beans: ½ cup contains about 55 mg

  • 6” Corn tortilla: 1 tortilla contains about 46 mg

  • Whole wheat bread: 1 slice contains about 30 mg

  • Dried figs: 1 fig has about 13 mg

  • Many dairy alternatives, orange juices, and breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium, check the labels for exact amounts1,8

*Children under 1 year should not drink cow’s milk. Read more here: How Do I Introduce Milk to my Toddler

Follow the recommended amount of calcium for your baby or toddler’s age

No need to track every milligram of calcium! The goal is to provide a few sources throughout the day on most days. This way your little one’s calcium intake over the week averages about the amount they need.

Recipe and meal ideas to help increase calcium

Here are some fun and delicious recipe ideas that include calcium-rich foods. Be sure to provide your little one with foods in a texture they can handle. Feel free to mash any of the below recipes up should your little one need a softer or smoother consistency!

Fruit and Yogurt Pops

Fluffy Spinach Scrambled Eggs

Cheesy Peasy Pasta *Try subbing out the peas for chopped, sauteed kale for even more calcium-impact!

Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla *Try using a corn tortilla for increased calcium

Chat with your child’s health care professional should you have questions about their calcium intake.

Don’t lose sight of your own calcium needs

When taking care of our children, we often forget that our health matters too. Choose calcium-rich foods throughout your day to help make sure you are meeting your needs.

Here are some great resources:

Meal Plan to Build your and your baby’s Bones during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Which Nutrients do I Need during Pregnancy?

What to Eat while Breastfeeding

Let's Chat!

We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.

Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm (ET), and Saturday - Sunday 8am - 2pm (ET). Chat Now!

Read more about the experts that help write our content!

For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

Why does Vitamin D Matter for Babies, Tots, and Mama

Starting Solids: Signs of Readiness

Introduce Solids: First Foods and Textures


What products with calcium are better to give to a child?

18 August 2020

8 February 2021

4 minutes




  • Benefits of calcium for the child's body
  • How to understand that a child lacks calcium?
  • What calcium foods can I give my child?


Please note that all information posted on the site Prowellness is provided for informational purposes only and is not a personal program, a direct recommendation for action, or medical advice. Do not use these materials for diagnosis, treatment, or any medical procedure. Consult your physician before using any technique or using any product. This site is not a specialized medical portal and does not replace the professional advice of a specialist. The Site Owner is not liable to any party who has suffered indirect or direct damage as a result of misuse of materials posted on this resource.

Which foods with calcium are best for a child?

Calcium is one of the most important trace elements that provides a person with health and a comfortable existence. It is especially important for a growing organism. What foods with calcium can be given to a child?

Benefits of calcium for children

Why calcium is good for baby's health:

  • ensures normal growth and development of the baby;
  • correctly forms the bone skeleton;
  • reduces the risk of developing rickets;
  • improves the condition of teeth and tooth enamel;
  • reduces the risk of caries;
  • has a positive effect on the condition of hair, nails, skin;
  • has a positive effect on the nervous system and the transmission of nerve impulses;
  • strengthens nerve tissues;
  • increases the body's defenses;
  • reduces the risk of developing allergies;
  • strengthens the cardiovascular system, has a positive effect on its work;
  • helps develop memory, attention, mental abilities;
  • provides the child with vigor and strength;
  • helps to cope with stress factors.

    How can you tell if your child is lacking calcium?

    You can suspect a lack of calcium in a child's body by the following symptoms:

    1. The child grows slowly, gains weight poorly, lags behind his peers in physical development.
    2. His nails are constantly breaking, peeling, with visible white stripes.
    3. Dental diseases often occur.
    4. Hair grows slowly and falls out frequently.
    5. The child behaves irritably, aggressively.
    6. Gets tired quickly, lacks energy.
    7. The child has convulsions.

      What calcium foods can I give my child?

      List of foods with calcium that will be good for the child:

      1. Hard cheese. Parmesan is the record holder for calcium content. It will help beneficial substances to be better absorbed in the intestines of the child.
      2. White beans. Contains a lot of magnesium, and this has a double beneficial effect on the bones.
      3. Milk and dairy products. The child can be given milk, cottage cheese, kefir, natural yogurt, fermented baked milk. The main thing is not to add sugar to them, otherwise calcium will be absorbed worse.
      4. Almonds and hazelnuts. Nuts have a lot of calcium, but they are high in calories, they should not be overeaten. It is very important for an adult to monitor the condition of the child after taking nuts. They can cause allergies.
      5. Pumpkin and sesame seeds. Usually children eat seeds with pleasure, but if the crumb refuses them, then seeds can be added to salads and main dishes, homemade cakes.
      6. All types of cabbage. Especially useful for children is broccoli, as it does not cause digestive problems and allergies.
      7. Sardines. They are good for bones, but you should be careful with canned food, as they should not be given to children in large quantities.
      8. Oily sea fish. Particularly useful for the baby are red fish and tuna.
      9. Olive oil. It is worth completely replacing them with sunflower. Suitable for frying and salad dressing.
      10. Fresh herbs. Most calcium is found in dill, parsley, spinach, sorrel. Greens should be added to salads or simply offered to the child to chew on a bunch.
      11. Oranges. They can be eaten in their pure form, or you can make juices, fresh juices, desserts from them, add them to pastries.
      12. Dried figs. Great alternative to sweets.
      13. Bananas. They do not contain the daily norm of calcium, but they contain potassium, which prevents the leaching of nutrients from the body.

        Attention! Foods with calcium should be in the diet of any healthy person, especially a child, as a growing body needs support.


        Please note that all information posted on the site Prowellness is provided for informational purposes only and is not a personal program, a direct recommendation for action, or medical advice. Do not use these materials for diagnosis, treatment, or any medical procedure. Consult your physician before using any technique or using any product. This site is not a specialized medical portal and does not replace the professional advice of a specialist. The Site Owner is not liable to any party who has suffered indirect or direct damage as a result of misuse of materials posted on this resource.

        Expert: Evgenia Bulakh Expert in the field of motherhood, health and proper nutrition

        Reviewer: Ekaterina Vorobieva Adept of a healthy and active lifestyle

        Read other articles on similar topics

        (4 votes, average 3)

        Share the article

        Strong bones and teeth. Sources of calcium for the baby in the daily diet

        Reviewer Kovtun Tatiana Anatolievna


        Why is a normal level of calcium in the body so important for the healthy development of the baby? In what vital processes in the body is this mineral involved? What foods contain calcium? And in what combinations is it better absorbed by the body?

        In what processes does calcium participate in the body?

        Calcium is important for the healthy development and functioning of the human body. The necessary and sufficient content of calcium in the child's body is extremely important for his healthy development. A lack of calcium in a baby's body can lead to various pathological conditions: impaired growth of bones, teeth, dysfunction of the nervous system and the muscular system.

        From the first days of life, a child receives calcium from breast milk or formula. If the baby is healthy, and the nutrition of the nursing mother is complete, then this amount of calcium in the diet is enough for him. From 4-6 months it is recommended to start complementary foods, and the child should receive calcium from complementary foods.

        Starting from 8 months, non-adapted sour-milk products appear in the child's diet: baby curds, sour-milk drinks, which contain natural calcium from milk. Vitamin D3 helps with calcium absorption. For example, FrutoNyanya biocurd enriched with vitamin D contains calcium, which is so necessary for the baby's body, is also enriched with vitamin D and contains a probiotic (BB-12TM).

        Such a balanced composition of biocurd is perfect for a baby.

        How is calcium absorbed?

        In order for calcium to enter the body in sufficient quantities, it is very important that it is also absorbed. But this is impossible without vitamin D. This vitamin can be obtained with the help of sunlight. However, one "solar source" is not always enough. Vitamin D can also be ingested through the diet.

        In the production of FrutoNyanya children's biocurd, ultrafiltration technology is used, which allows you to save valuable whey proteins in the product.

        What are the best sources of calcium for a baby?

        Calcium is found in many foods. For example, it is enough in milk and dairy products. FrutoNyanya dairy products for children contain calcium in the form of lactate. FrutoNyanya, a specially developed children's biocurd, is an excellent example of a product balanced in composition for a baby's daily diet.

        How does an excess of calcium in the body appear and what threatens it?

        If you have doubts or questions about the correct diet for your child, I recommend that you contact the doctor who observes your child.

        Learn more