nutrition ce

Calcium and meal planning: Simple reminders from RDNs to patients

Editor’s note: This post is brought to you by Creamy Bites.

As RDNs, we know that the benefits of calcium are many. This becomes so obvious to us that we sometimes neglect to remind patients that calcium cannot act alone. We teach patients that it is good to eat a variety of calcium-containing foods, from both plant and animal sources, but they must keep in mind that bioavailability differs between the two. Fundamentally, plant foods are rich in nutrients (potassium, magnesium, vitamin C) that aid calcium absorption, but also contain those that actually hinder it, such as oxalates and phytates.1-3 Patients need to understand this paradox, as it means it takes more plant sources than animal sources to net the same amount of calcium absorbed.4

Fortunately, there are simple and easy measures patients can take to increase calcium intake and absorption simultaneously. For instance, eating calcium-rich foods in combination with foods that enhance absorption, such as those high in vitamin D, potassium and protein.1,5

Consider the simple mix-and-match approach in the table to combine high-calcium foods with high-vitamin D foods. This helps patients optimize intake and absorption of both nutrients.6-9
Good Sources of Calcium
(~300 mg)

Milk, 1 cup
Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella), low fat, 1-1⁄2 oz.
Tofu, calcium fortified, 1 cup

(~200 mg)

Canned salmon or sardines (with soft bones), 3 oz.
Cereal, calcium fortified, 1 cup
Kale or collard greens, 1 cup cooked

(~50 mg)

White beans, canned, 1⁄2 cup
Corn tortilla, 1 medium
Broccoli, 1⁄2 cup cooked
Almonds, 2 tablespoons

Good Sources of Vitamin D

Egg yolks
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel
Fortified milk, orange juice, cereals
Beef liver

Simple meal ideas might include:

Breakfast tacos: 1 corn tortilla, 1 egg, 1 1/2 ounces 2% milk cheese, and salsa (380 mg)
Pasta: 1⁄2 cup white beans, 1⁄2 cup cooked kale, 1⁄2 cup pasta and 1⁄2 cup feta […]

Are your patients confused about calcium?

Editor’s note: This post is brought to you by Creamy Bites.

For a long time, we’ve been told that calcium consumption is not only good, but necessary: to build strong bones when we are growing, maintain them as we grow older, and reduce fracture risk. We’ve empowered ourselves by eating well, and counseling others to do the same. We’ve acquired the knowledge we need to keep our bones strong and make sure our children grow up strong. We’ve followed the advice of the U.S. Surgeon General (last updated in 2012) and learned some pretty interesting facts about calcium:

Most people don’t get enough calcium, especially young people between ages 9 and 18, post-menopausal women, and men over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.
There are a lot of different sources of calcium supplements, and not all of them are the same.
Calcium should be taken with vitamin D, because vitamin D facilitates absorption.
The body can typically only absorb up to 500 mg of calcium at a time, so it’s a good idea to take calcium supplements twice a day.

NIH Recommendations for Adequate Calcium Intake from All Sources

Diet, Supplements, or Both?
Conventional wisdom suggests that consuming foods and beverages high in calcium is the best way to meet the body’s calcium needs. In general, including calcium-rich foods and beverages as part of a healthy, balanced, nutrient-diverse diet is prudent. However, all evidence shows that Americans, on average, do not even meet the lower end of the RDA requirement. In fact, the average woman over the age of 40 has a calcium intake of less than 50% of the RDA (Blank). Equally alarming, 60% of 6-to-11-year-olds and 70% of 12-to-19-year-olds don’t get enough calcium (Greer).

Besides the fact that people […]

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Guide to continuing education primer series

Dietitian CE Made Easy
A Complete Guide to Continuing Education for Dietitians and Nutritionists

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), or soon to be, you play a vital role in the healthcare community by providing expert advice on proper food and nutrition, counseling clients with unique dietary restrictions, calculating patients’ nutritional requirements, analyzing the nutritional content of food and helping patients in all walks of life to improve their health by adopting healthier eating habits. However, just as important as meeting the initial academic and professional requirements it takes to become a registered dietitian, it is equally imperative to complete your continuing education (CE) requirements for each recertification period. After all, your job depends on it! But first, how well do you know your profession? Here are some interesting stats about Registered Dietitians.


8 Easy Steps to Completing Your Dietitian CE Requirements
When it’s time to fulfill your CE requirements, refer to this handy step-by-step guide. Anyone can start learning today by signing up for a free account at (the site is part of the network – the largest and most respected healthcare CE library on the web). However, because we know how confusing the CE process can be for new dietitians and even veteran RDs, we’ve sifted through the information for you and compiled everything you need to know into this comprehensive, yet digestible, guide that makes CE easy! Again, we hope you refer to this guide often and share it with your friends (Facebook and Twitter links are at the bottom of this post).

1. Complete Your National CDR Requirements
First and foremost, you need to understand the profession’s national requirements. The Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) has outlined the requirements for recertification in their Professional Development […]