Nondairy Foods with Calcium
While dairy foods are the best source of calcium, other foods also contain calcium. Dark green leafy vegetables and fish with soft bones that you can eat add calcium to the diet. Foods such as orange juice, soymilk, bread, and cereals and other grain foods may have calcium added by the manufacturer. Some foods, like beans, chard, beet greens, rhubarb, and spinach, contain oxalates and phytates. While these things make it harder for our body to use the calcium in such foods, they are still good choices. To make it easier for our bodies to use the calcium in these foods, you should:
- Pick dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard, mustard or turnip greens, green cabbage, or bok-choy
- Prepare these foods with lemon juice or vinegar to increase calcium absorption
- Soak beans (navy, pinto, red) or chickpeas in water for several hours, drain the water, cover with fresh water, and cook
- Read food labels to know how much calcium is in your favorite food.
- Check the percent daily value of calcium—the higher the better.
- Look for the words “calcium fortified” or “calcium rich” on the label.
- Be sure soymilk is fortified with calcium and tofu is made with added calcium.
Tip: Tired of the same old foods? Try at least one new high-calcium food or recipe every week or month to add variety and pizzazz to your diet.
Tips Affecting Different Age Groups
Eating nondairy foods high in calcium helps to meet calcium needs. This is very important for teens and older adults. Their calcium need is higher than that of people 19 to 50 years old. The list below shows nondairy foods with calcium. People who are allergic to milk or have lactose intolerance need to eat these foods to help meet their calcium need.
Nondairy Sources of Calcium
|1 packet oatmeal, calcium fortified||350 mg|
|1 cup orange juice, calcium fortified
|3 ounces sockeye salmon, canned with bones
|1/2 cup tofu, firm with calcium sulfate
|1/2 cup collard greens, cooked
|2 ounces almonds
|1 cup cereal, ready-to-eat, calcium fortified
|1/2 cup turnip greens, cooked
Examine Your Choices
||What I use
||What I plan to try
|Fish||Tuna canned in water
||Canned salmon with bones
Apple Salmon Salad
Serving size: Makes 6 servings
- 1 can (15½ ounces) canned salmon with bones
- 2 red apples, cored and diced
- 1 Tablespoon chopped onion
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
Remove the core, and cut apples into pieces. Peel and chop onion. In one bowl, mix the salmon with the diced apples. In another bowl, mix the onion, yogurt, pepper, dill, and vinegar. Stir the two mixtures together in the same bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tips: A quick and easy meal to prepare for summer days. Serve with fresh salad greens.
Nutrient information: Per serving: 166 calories, 16 g protein, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 12 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 49 mg cholesterol, 342 mg sodium, 191 mg calcium.
Recipe Source: Penn State Extension, EFNEP.
TitleNondairy Foods with Calcium
SeriesCreating Health and Nutrition
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