Start a plan with your family to get enough calcium. Download the list of foods high in calcium and put it on the refrigerator. When you grab a snack, choose from the list!
Limit your soda intake. Not only does it rob your body of the calcium it desperately needs for growth, soda has lots of sugar that can harm your teeth.
How many sodas do you drink a day? One? Two? Three? More? Consider this "drink for thought" when you wonder how much calcium you should be getting during your teen years. You can get a lot of calcium in liquid form from drinking milk, not from guzzling bucket loads of soda or diet soda.
Bones grow and incorporate calcium most rapidly during your teen years, so hit the calcium often. Scientists agree that diets low in calcium during childhood and adolescence contribute when you're older to osteoporosis — a disease that makes your bones brittle.
And sodas, believe it or not, just aren't that good for you as you can see from the Health Trek experiment, "A Chicken Bone in Vinegar." This is a rather graphic illustration of the dangers of too much soda and not enough milk. The best advice is to create healthy habits: Cut down on sodas and get more calcium.
This list gives you a good idea of where you can get lots of calcium. Want the scoop on calcium content in common foods and a simple way to calculate if you’re getting enough? Download our “Are You Getting Enough Calcium?” worksheet and plug in your numbers
Milk (non-fat, low-fat, whole)
Flavored (chocolate) milk
Ice cream and ice milk
Ice cream bars
Frozen pizza with real cheese
Frozen cheese enchiladas
Calcium-fortified orange juice
Dry milk powder
Sardines, canned with bones
Salmon, canned with bones
Mac and cheese
Buttermilk pancake mix
Tofu (made with calcium)
Osteoporosis — A crippling bone disease. Bones become so brittle that they break easily.
Bone loss in the jaw — This can lead to problems chewing, tooth loss and poorly fitting dentures. Not a pretty picture, huh?
Hypertension — High blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart attacks in some people.
Based on good research, it is recommended that teens ages 9 to 18 get 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily.
An Excursion Into What Would Happen if You Drank Soda Instead of Milk
Special Ingredients: You'll need a dry chicken or turkey bone, vinegar, a jar and a couple of days' time for this little do-it-yourself number to prove its point.
This information helps you see the importance of getting enough calcium, especially during your teen years, and drinking less soda. If you did the "mini-science experiment" on that rubbery chicken bone, take a look at it again, give it a couple tugs or squeezes and tell yourself: "This will not be my fate." If you didn't do the experiment, take our word for it, you don't want your bones to end up this way! The point of it all? Think before you drink. Got calcium? If not, go get it!
Enter your access code below and then enter your name and submit your progress report.