Haverhill Public Schools


Joanna Wood

Phone # 978-374-3416



Elementary & Secondary Breakfast $1.50
Elementary & Secondary Reduced $0.30
Elementary Lunch $3.00
St. Joseph's & Sacred Heart $3.10
Middle School Lunch $3.10
High School Lunch #1 $3.25
High School Lunch #2 $3.75
Secondary Lunch Reduced $0.40
Milk $0.70
Adult Lunch $4.50

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School Nutrition Blog

Staying Healthy with Calcium

There are many vitamins and minerals that are essential to living a healthy life. Calcium is one mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining the body by building strong bones and teeth. 

According to studies, calcium is an important mineral that needs to be consumed throughout the day. It is an essential nutrient because it is used by every cell in our body including our heart, muscle, and nervous system, as well as our bones. For children, bones grow quickly so it is important for them to consume large amounts of calcium in order to prevent bone loss during adulthood.  Our bones store the calcium for later use and help keep our bodies strong.

Calcium is also important for maintaining a healthy heart and new research that suggests consuming the right amount of calcium in your diet can actually help to decrease your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Lastly, both the muscles and nerves work together to use the calcium. The nervous tissues use calcium’s energy to help to stimulate nervous impulses that help to trigger muscle contractions. This not only helps us with daily movement but a variety of exercises. As you can see, calcium is quite an important mineral!

Calcium gets some help from another vitamin when being absorbed and that’s Vitamin D. The maximum amount of calcium can be absorbed with the help of Vitamin D; this vitamin helps to increase calcium absorption from foods. Both of these nutrients work together and are more greatly absorbed as a unit. Because the Vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium from the gut, this vitamin also helps in maintaining and building strong bones. Appropriate amounts of Vitamin D can be received through our skin’s response to sunlight, and from foods that we eat (fatty fish like tuna and salmon, fortified cereals/milk/orange juice, cheese). It is clear that calcium is important for a majority of reasons and it is suggested to have 3 servings of calcium sources daily to make sure that your bones stay at their strongest.

So, what happens if you do not eat enough calcium? If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, your body will then take the calcium that has been stored in your bones to ensure that cells can function normally. Too little calcium in the body can cause the diseases such as osteoporosis. The most common bones affected by this disease include the hip, backbone, and wrists. This disease can be very painful and can make it difficult to complete daily activities. 

What foods provide the best sources of calcium? Dairy foods are known for their high amounts of calcium; these include items such as milk, cheeses, yogurts, and other dairy products. Since many people are lactose intolerant they cannot always rely on dairy sources, so they must be sure to consume calcium from other foods that contain high amounts of this mineral. Fish contains calcium, such as sardines, canned salmon, and anchovies; green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and collard greens also contain high amounts of calcium. Other sources of calcium include white beans, almonds, and tofu. You cannot go wrong with any variety of calcium sources; all are quite flavorful and can be used in a variety of ways. 

Here at Whitsons, we emphasize the importance of a healthy diet to students every day and provide them with the best quality meals that complete their daily nutritional requirements.  To learn more and to sign up for our blogs, visit us on the web at www.whitsons.com.

Contributor: Katherine Ancona, R.D

About Katherine Ancona, R.D.
Katherine Ancona is a Registered Dietitian for Whitsons Culinary Group. She received her Master’s Degree in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science from Clemson University in 2013. While attending Clemson University, she led a team of undergraduate students in modifying recipes to be healthier. She is most interested in wellness, pediatric, and culinary nutrition, and she also serves as a volunteer for the Kids Eat Right Campaign. Katherine completed her dietetic internship at Oklahoma State University in 2014, and began working for Whitson’s Culinary Group as a Registered Dietitian in August of 2016.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author and should not be construed as the opinions of Whitsons Culinary Group or any of its affiliates.  All content and material contained in this blog are provided for informational purposes only, and no representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.  It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual.  It is not medical advice and should not be treated as such.  You should not rely on the information in this blog as a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.