Building Healthy Bones
When you think about nutrition in the classroom, bone health might not be your first concern. But, the school years are a critical period for bone growth. This article will give you the tools to talk about the importance of nutrition for bone health with your students.
Bone growth in childhood and adolescence
Most bone growth happens during the school years because bones are primed to add large amounts of bone-building nutrients to the skeleton during this time. This growth is important because as we age, the body breaks down old bone faster than it adds new bone. Building strong bones in our youth is vital to making sure those bones have enough left in the “bone savings account” to make up for age-related bone loss.
What nutrients build healthy bones?
Many nutrients work together to build healthy bones. While calcium is a key player, other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium and protein are also needed to build and maintain bones.
Did you know that milk contains 8 of the 11 bone-building nutrients? While many of these nutrients can be found alone in other foods, milk, yogurt and cheese have many of the nutrients needed for strong bones in a single food. Talk about bang for your buck!
Milk is now in the protein group in Canada's food guide because it contains high value protein--important for bones, muscles and your immune system.
Snacks for healthy bones
While drinking milk is a great way to get bone-building nutrients, many other foods are also sources of these building blocks. However, including milk products with meals and snacks is a great way to get enough.
Here are some ideas:
- Cook oatmeal with milk instead of water.
- Make smoothies using milk.
- Serve raw veggies with Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Dip)
- Have yogurt and granola as a snack.
- Pair cheese cubes with apple slices.