Getting Enough Calcium Without Dairy
We are a dairy free household, which means we need to ensure we are getting enough calcium from other sources.
Calcium is an essential part of our diet.
It is the most abundant mineral in our body and is not only necessary for the formation of bones and teeth but also nerve transmission, blood clotting and blood pressure.
Thankfully there are many great non-dairy sources of calcium available and many vegetable sources are actually more readily absorbed than dairy products.
The RDA for calcium is:
1-3 year old -700 mg
4-8 year old -1,000mg
9-13 – 1,300mg
Vitamins and Absorption
Vitamin D, K and magnesium are necessary to help increase absorption so it is important to have adequate intake of these as well. Many natural food sources of calcium are also good sources of Vitamin D, which is another reason the calcium in these foods is more absorbable.
Here is a list of 10 great non-dairy sources of calcium;
Kale – ½ cup – 100mg
Kale is a well-known superfood that is a great source of calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. You can throw it in a smoothie for breakfast, sauté it or have it in a salad.
2. White/Navy Beans
White/Navy Beans – 1 cup – 200mg
Besides being a good source of calcium these beans are a good source of fiber, protein and potassium. They can easily be added to a pasta dish along with some veggies or can be made into a dip.
Almonds – ¼ cup – 75 mg
An extremely nutrient dense nut filled with calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin E. Eat a handful, sprinkle them on a salad or make your own nut butter. Just watch the portion size!
4. Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp. – 85mg
Sesame seeds are also an excellent source of manganese and copper. They are really easy to sprinkle onto a salad to get some extra calcium, or buy some tahini (sesame paste) to add to your hummus.
Oranges – 1 medium– 65 mg
Oranges are filled with vitamin C and calcium and make an easy grab and go snack.
6. Canned Salmon
Canned Salmon –½ can – 232mg
The calcium is in the bones so don’t shy away from the canned salmon. It is easy to keep in the cupboard and is also a good source of protein and omega 3 fats. The salmon can be added to a salad, put in a sandwich or used for salmon cakes.
7. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap Molasses – 1 tbsp. – 172 mg
Not only does this have calcium, but also iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium. It is a highly nutritious sweetener that can be used as an alternative to maple syrup on pancakes, on yogurt or coconut yogurt or even your morning oatmeal.
The last three listed are fortified foods, meaning vitamins and minerals have been added to them. It’s best to get your calcium from whole foods, but these foods are certainly great options to have on hand.
8. Milk Alternatives
Milk alternatives (almond, coconut, soy) – 1 cup – approximately 300mg (depending on type of milk)
Add this to your cereal, smoothie or just drink a cup!
Cheerios – 1 cup – 114mg
Cheerios are known to help lower cholesterol, but they also have a good amount of calcium. Great for kids breakfast or dry as a snack.
10. Instant Oatmeal
Instant Oatmeal – 1 cup – 187mg
A quick breakfast option that offers both calcium and fiber – just ensure you aren’t grabbing the kind with added sugar.
Allison Madigan is a holistic nutritionist. She has a strong belief in the power of food and proper nutrition to keep us in our best health and prevent disease. Allison’s goal is to empower people to make healthy and mindful decisions for themselves and their families to achieve optimal health. She has a keen interest in food sensitivities and allergies and helping families navigate this as she has gone through this with her own daughter.