Skip to main content
Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Don’t let your bone health be an afterthought

Image of Man and child cooking in a kitchen together while child is flexing their arm

Osteoporosis doesn’t typically have any symptoms, and most don’t know they have it until a bone breaks. While it mainly affects postmenopausal women, it’s still a major cause of fractures for older men, too. Prevention begins in childhood and continues throughout adult life, but no matter your age, it’s never too late to take care of your bones.

There are many things you can do to protect your bones, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol, engaging in physical activity, including weight-bearing exercises, and eating a well-balanced diet. Two of the most important nutrients for bone health are calcium and vitamin D. Adults need anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day. Foods such as dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), beans/legumes, green leafy vegetables (kale, mustard greens, broccoli), nuts and sardines and salmon with bones are high in calcium. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and when in the sun, our skin can make vitamin D. It’s found naturally in some foods, like salmon or tuna, and is fortified in others, such as dairy products, orange juice and yogurt. If a deficiency in either are suspected, your healthcare provider may recommend a supplement.

Air Fryer Falafel

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ medium onion, roughly chopped

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic

½ Tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Tzatziki Sauce

½ medium cucumber

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

1 clove garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

Place all falafel ingredients in a food processor.  Process for about 20 seconds; scrape down sides and process again until mixture is well combined, but not mushy. Refrigerate mixture for about 45-60 minutes. Form mixture into little balls, about golf ball size. Preheat air fryer to 375F. Once preheated, spray basket with cooking spray. Place falafel single layer in the basket. Air fry for 7 minutes, turn them and air fry for another 7 minutes or until browned on both sides.

For tzatziki sauce, trim off ends of cucumber, cut in half and remove seeds. Grate cucumber. Wrap in paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture. Place in bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill in refrigerator. Serve falafel in warm pita bread topped with tzatziki sauce, chopped lettuce and tomatoes.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts with pita bread (per serving): 270 calories, 4 grams fat, 620 milligrams sodium, 49 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 12 grams protein


Source: NIH. Bone Health for Life: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.