If you’re dairy-free—whether because you’re allergic, lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply just don’t like the taste of it—getting your daily dose of calcium requires you to be a bit more creative. In my personal experience, I became lactose intolerant at a later age. I was shocked when I found out. How could I survive without my latte!? When I was a kid, I loved milk. If my parents allowed it, I would eat milk and cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even the video that got me addicted to YouTube was about milk and cereal:
On top of all that, my taste buds’ desire for dairy was only half of my concern; the other half was my body’s need for calcium. Calcium is essential for the body. It helps you build strong bones when you’re young and keep them strong when you’re old. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, consuming 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day is a must to keep a body optimally healthy and nourished. However, even though everyone says that milk is the best source of calcium (a cup of milk contains 300 mg of calcium), luckily for us non-dairy eaters, milk isn’t the only way to reach 1,000 mg of calcium a day.
Below is a list from the Huffington Post of some calcium-rich foods that are dairy-free and vegan:
- Kale- A cup of raw kale is packed with 90 mg of calcium. To put that into perspective, a 3.5-cup kale salad will give you more calcium than a glass of milk.
- Oranges- Not only is this fruit loaded with healthy Vitamin C, it also has 60 mg of calcium.
- Sardines- Three ounces of these fishes, canned in oil with its bones, is loaded with 325 mg of calcium—that’s 33% of your daily value!
- Soy milk– A more than capable alternative to milk. It contains just as much calcium as milk and tastes great. For milk-free people who can’t live without lattes and cereal like me, using soy milk gets the job done.
- Oatmeal– An already popular breakfast because of its wholesomeness, this fiber-packed meal also contains a load of calcium. One packet of Quaker instant oatmeal contains 105 mg of calcium.
- Sesame seeds– An ounce of these little guys is loaded with 280 mg of calcium—that’s almost as much as a glass of milk! Plus, they make a great garnish for most Asian foods.
- Soy beans– One cup of boiled soy beans will provide you 261 mg of calcium. Eating these calcium rich beans by themselves make a great snack/appetizer.
- Almonds– One ounce of this nut will give you 80 mg of calcium. On top of that, almonds help cut cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, and promote weight loss. But of course, eat them in moderation, too much can add calories and fat.
- Salmon– In addition to the healthy fats and protein this fish is loaded with, three ounces of canned salmon with the bones is packed with 181 mg of calcium. A fillet of wild salmon has 24 mg of calcium.
- White beans– Half a cup of these beans is loaded with 100 mg of calcium.
- Dried figs– If you’re craving for a sweet snack, eat some figs. Two dried figs will give you 55 mg of calcium, as well as some fiber and protein too.
- Turnip greens– One cup of turnip greens is packed with 200 mg of calcium. Pile some of these greens on your plate would be like drinking a glass of milk with your meal.
- Arugula– Next time you make a salad, be sure to throw in a few handfuls of these guys. Not only do they make your plate look pretty, a cup of arugula is packed with 125 mg of calcium. A full salad at three cups would give you 400 mg of calcium—that’s a 100 mg more than a glass of milk!
- Broccoli– Having a well-deserved reputation as being a super vegetable, a cup of cooked broccoli is loaded with 180 mg of calcium.
- Tofu– With tofu, vegans can get two things done at once. Not only does tofu contain protein, a serving of hard tofu made with calcium provides a whopping 250 mg of the nutrient too.
- Sunflower seeds– An ounce of this fun snack will give you 50 mg of calcium.
The list above is useful for non-dairy eaters to find alternative sources of calcium, but figuring out what dishes to make with those ingredients can be tricky. That’s where fitsme comes in. With our web/mobile app, you can customize your meal plans to accommodate your allergies and taste buds, and include the ingredients you want. Fitsme can help milk-free people get their daily dose of calcium in the most convenient and personalized fashion. Now start cooking!
-By Brian Van