Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium

Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and is found naturally in a wide variety of foods and beverages and added to many others! But there’s no need to rely only on dairy products for that daily dose of calcium.

Those who for health or personal reasons choose not to consume dairy can absolutely get enough calcium. In many cases, non-dairy food sources of calcium can be healthier since they are also sources of other vitamins and minerals.

Here’s how much calcium and vitamin D you need every day, according to the Institute of Medicine.


Children 1-3 years old: 700 milligrams (mg)
Children 4-8 years old: 1,000 mg
Children 9-18 years old: 1,300 mg
Adults 19-50: 1,000 mg
Women 51 to 70: 1,200 mg
Men 51 to 70: 1,000 mg
Women and men 71 and over: 1,200 mg

Vitamin D

Age 1-70: 600 IU
Age 71 and older: 800 IU

Your doctor may recommend higher levels of calcium and vitamin D, especially if you aren’t getting enough of them or are at risk for osteoporosis.

Here’s a list of foods and beverages filled with calcium.

There are many good reasons to eat broccoli, and now you have one more. Broccoli supplies a decent amount of calcium, and it’s easy enough to cook broccoli

Tofu is made by extracting protein from soy milk, and is used as a popular meat substitute among vegetarians and vegans. With tofu, you’re getting calcium plus lean protein. Tofu made with calcium sulfate is the most calcium-rich.

This fermented food is made of soybeans bound into a thick cake. You’ll get a dose of fiber along with calcium and protein from this less well-known meat substitute.

These “green soybeans” are a popular appetizer in sushi restaurants, and are a good source of calcium that you can purchase frozen at the store. Toss them into a quick stir-fry dish or reheat with a dash of salt for a calcium-rich snack.

Collard Greens
Cooked collard greens are a good source of calcium, providing 268 mg in a 1 cup serving. This leafy vegetable is mild in flavor and can also be used as a gluten-free, low-carb wrap.

Spinach packs a surprising calcium punch, delivering 241 mg in just a ½ cup cooked portion. Lucky for you, it’s also a versatile vegetable to cook with.

Okra/Ladies Finger
Okra is high in fiber, low in calories, and packs plenty of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. To cut down on its slick texture, use an acid (lemon, lime or vinegar) in your seasoning.

This salad green has a spicy kick, and at 5 calories per serving, packs a mini calcium punch. Sub arugula salad in place of recipes that use blander cousins like romaine and iceberg lettuce.

Canned Fish
Canned fish is a great calcium-rich option: It’s lean, inexpensive, and gives you protein to boot. Purchase them when possible with the bones possible since this is where most of calcium is found. You can use canned fish to add flavor to sauces, or shape them into high-protein burger patties.

Dried Figs
Dried figs are sweet, delectable and available year round. They’re an adequate source of calcium as a snack, but really watch the serving size because you’ll have to eat 371 calories worth of figs to get the same calcium as a cup of milk.
those who for health or personal reasons choose not to consume dairy can absolutely get enough calcium. In many cases, non-dairy food sources of calcium can be healthier since they are also sources of other vitamins and minerals.

Fortified Orange Juice
Fortified orange juice is another beverage option for you to get your calcium. Just be mindful of the high sugar content in juice.

Non-Dairy Milk
Non-Dairy Milk is quite trendy these days, with almond, rice and soy milk debuting near the dairy aisle. While they may not initially be calcium-rich, milk alternatives are often fortified. Look for “calcium-fortified” varieties because these will give you similar levels of calcium compared to cow’s milk.

White Beans
Creamy and light, these legumes are a great source of calcium and iron . Add them to a pasta dish with veggies, or skip the chickpeas and make your own hummus with white beans.

Bok Choy
This versatile Chinese cabbage provides a hefty dose of vitamins A and C, along with calcium and fiber. Stir-fry bok choy with garlic and olive oil for a perfect side dish.

This superfood is filled with calcium and antioxidants, and is perfect to use as the base of any salad when shredded into thin strips. A kale salad with apricots and avocado is a perfect springtime dish.

Black-Eyed Peas
These beans are filled with calcium, potassium, folate, and more! Skip the fat-filled mayo and whip up this black-eyed pea spread to pump up any sandwich or appetizer.

grab a handful of almonds every now and then. They’re the most nutritionally dense nut, packing a crazy amounts of nutrients per calorie and ounce. Aside from calcium, they also contain potassium, vitamin E, and iron. Sprinkle on a salad or make your own almond butter. Just watch out for portion size!

Turnip Greens
This leafy green comes from turnip bulbs, and is filled with calcium, antioxidants, and folate, which could help improve mood. Saute them as a side dish, or spice things up and make a turnip tart.

Sesame Seeds
These unassuming seeds are more than just a burger bun decoration. Sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and may even fight against certain cancers. Use their nutty crunch in a salad, or add to this sautéed spinach dish.

Fish aren’t the only, well, fish in the sea. Seaweed is full of calcium, fiber, and iodine, which helps with proper thyroid function . Bring a bowl of risotto up a notch with this seaweed recipe.

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