Enjoy One of Your 3-A-Day of Dairy in Your Lunchbox. National Lunchbox Week is the 1-5 September

Published 6 June 08

As National Lunchbox Week approaches, The Dairy Council is reminding us to boost our calcium intake by including dairy at lunchtime. The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that many young people have inadequate intakes of calcium. So to meet our needs for calcium, The Dairy Council recommends three servings of dairy each day (3-A-Day).

Dr Judith Bryans, Director of The Dairy Council and Registered Nutritionist, said: "Dairy foods are the greatest providers of calcium in the UK diet, and consuming three portions of dairy a day (3-A-Day) is the easiest way to meet the recommended levels of calcium. By including at least one of those portions in your lunchbox you'll be on your way to 3-A-Day."

Milk, cheese and yogurt are the main types of dairy foods in the UK diet, and they are all good sources of calcium, which is needed for:

  • bones and teeth
  • nerve and muscle function
  • blood clotting
  • cell membrane permeability
  • release of hormones
  • blood pressure and enzymes

The recommended portion size depends on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of calcium for each age group. Although teenagers need a little more calcium than other age groups, the RNI of calcium for adults is 700mg/day and the recommended portion sizes to achieve this are:

  • 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk - provides 247mg of calcium
  • 150g pot of low-fat yogurt - provides 243mg of calcium
  • 30g (matchbox size) of hard cheese - provides 222mg of calcium

There are also many other ways to include dairy in your lunchbox; here are some tasty suggestions:

  • Milk in a thermos or a small carton (flavoured milks may be more attractive for kids)
  • Pot of yogurt
  • Fromage frais
  • Rice pudding
  • Matchbox sized piece of cheese
  • Cheese cubes with crackers
  • Leftover macaroni cheese
  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • Pasta salad with cheese
  • Slice of pizza
  • Custard
  • Cheese sandwich

To find out more about your daily calcium requirements, and how to meet them by getting your 3-A-Day, visit The Dairy Council's website www.milk.co.uk.