When it comes to my body and nutrition, I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never put much thought into the health of my bones and how I could build strong bones – I’m probably not the only one who filed it under the “worry about it later category” right?!
Well we should all proactively take care of our bones, throughout every stage of our lives. Doing this is much easier than you think, and I’ll give you the simplest and stress-free breakdown in three easy steps below.
The best time to build strong bones is from childhood until the age of 30, with adolescence being the most crucial stage for bone development – 50% of your bone strength develops during this time.
As a mom to a tween boy who turns 11 next month, this has been an eye-opener. Healthy bones in childhood will ensure the same in the future and could significantly decrease the chances of bone diseases.
As parents, we can help our children get strong bones by ensuring they get the following:
1. Enough calcium
Ensure that you and your children are getting enough calcium, as this is the mineral that builds healthy bones. Calcium is found mostly in dairy; however, sardines, pilchards (but remember to eat the bones), dried beans and leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach also offer a great source of calcium.
To ensure that you are getting enough of calcium, try to have three servings of dairy every day – as an example, you could have milk with your breakfast, a cheese sandwich for lunch and a yoghurt as an afternoon snack.
Sadly, many children do not get enough calcium in their diet to ensure optimal bone health. Try not to avoid milk and dairy unnecessarily. If you have a confirmed milk or dairy allergies, consult with your doctor, who may recommend a supplement to ensure you get the important minerals you need.
2. Some Vitamin D
Get 30 minutes of sunlight per day to help your body best absorb the calcium. Our skin naturally converts sunlight to vitamin D, so grab your hat and sunscreen and get out there! Not only will you feel really good after getting sunshine and fresh air, but you will be doing the world of good for your bones. Who would have thought?! I definitely didn’t make the connection between sunlight and my bones.
3. Exercise and movement
Exercise is crucial for our health and that includes our bones too. Going for a walk or a swim is one of the best ways for me to wind-down and catch up with the kids. Our traditional Sunday walks are rarely compromised and the bonus is that my baby always falls asleep in his stroller or baby wrap. Exercise is also a good way to avoid lots of screentime and release stress from our long days.
Enrol your child in one extra mural activity at school so that they keep active and build social skills. Alternatively, you could walk, cycle, jog or play a game of soccer or cricket at home as a family without spending any extra money.
Easier than you thought right? We can all implement these almost immediately, without much trouble.
Types of dairy you can enjoy with your kids:
- Milk: whether flavoured, cold or warm, milk is easy and yummy to incorporate into our children’s diets. Remember, full-cream is recommended for kids as it contains vitamin A, which they need.
- Yoghurt: makes for a quick snack, for lunchboxes or when you are on the move. You can pop it in the freezer on a hot day for a refreshing snack.
- Amasi: I grew up with maas being a part of our staple diet, with pap. It’s really filling and it’s still a meal I enjoy to this day!
- Cheese: now this is a versatile food product and can be had in different flavours and textures. There is a cheese option for almost every fussy eater.
There you have it, a few simple ways to build strong bones and keep your family healthier – I know how busy we can get as moms so I thought this was an important topic to breakdown and share. Read more in this comprehensive infographic.
Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Rediscover Dairy – as usual all the opinions and thoughts are my own. For more tips on the benefits of dairy, follow them on Facebook.
Modern Zulu Mom