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Why and How to Easily Get More Calcium into Your Athlete's Diet

Calcium is the mineral that is most critical for bone health, no matter an athlete’s age. But is your athlete getting enough calcium in their daily diet? It can be tricky to make sure that they are eating enough to hit the 1,300-milligram-per-day recommendation, but it’s absolutely possible.

Here, TrueSport Expert Kristen Ziesmer, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, is sharing everything you need to know about calcium and how to make it a part of your athlete’s everyday meal plan.

How Much Calcium Does a Young Athlete Need?

For athletes 9 to 18 years old, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,300 milligrams, which is achievable with a food-first approach. Ideally, an athlete is eating calcium-rich foods at every meal and spreading out their intake of calcium throughout the day to improve absorption.

What Types of Foods Contain Calcium?

Generally, dairy is the simplest way to increase your athlete’s calcium intake, says Ziesmer. Most yogurts, milk, and cheese will contain between 200 and 400 milligrams of calcium per serving.

A few examples include:

  • 1 cup of 1% milk – 310 milligrams of calcium
  • 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt – 260 milligrams of calcium
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese – 290 milligrams of calcium
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese – 200 milligrams of calcium

However, even an athlete who’s happy to eat a lot of dairy products may struggle to eat between three and six servings of it in a day. Additionally, athletes who are plant-based or are from cultures where dairy isn’t found in many meals may also struggle to meet their daily calcium requirements.

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Nutrition Parent TrueSport