Calcium is essential not only for bones and teeth, but also for muscle functioning. And while calcium is well known to exist in milk, there are a lot of non-dairy alternatives.
Something like sesame seeds can be added into almost anything, but if you have an allergy to nuts, basil and tofu is a perfect alternative. There’s no excuse not to try any of these delicious calcium-rich foods!
#1 Sesame Seeds
They make everything taste delicious and they’re packed with calcium – two tablespoons (which is only about 100 calories) gives you 176 mg calcium! Sesame (ground up into tahini) is what gives hummus its signature flavor, and with a little ginger and tamari, adds a delicious nutty texture to any stir fry. Sesame spans many cultures and can be used in whole grain dishes, cereals, salads, baked goods, loaves, desserts, dips, sauces, and in snack mixes.
#2 Almond Milk
Unsweetened, fortified almond milk is an easy, fast and versatile way to get at least 45% of your daily calcium with 25% of your Vitamin D needed to absorb the calcium. Add it to your cereal, oats or smoothie for a calcium packed vegan breakfast.
Also known as Superfood with high protein content, packed with amino acids, fiber and many vitamins and nutrients, as well as high content of calcium. One cup of quinoa contains 31.5 miligarms of calcium, 3% of what the average person needs per day.
Kale chips is a convenient on the go snacking option.
#5 Chia seeds
Chia seeds are versatile as they can be added to your cereal, smoothies, salads or desserts.
Soybeans naturally have a lot of calcium. In fact, just one cup of cooked soybeans will provide you with 18.5% of the recommended daily value. Edamame beans are immature soybeans and they provide 27.6%. Soy is the building block for plenty of other foods like tofu, natto, and tempeh.
For vegans a top plant source is tofu made from soybeans which are naturally high in calcium, but look out for the fortified versions to gain extra vitamins and minerals. Tofu is a great plant protein too!
Basil is a great way to get your calcium. It offers 354 mg/cup. What I love about basil is it’s versatility. It can be added to salads, pasta, sauces, or muddled into drinks. It’s also easy to grow, which means with just a bit of effort, you can have a fresh, organic product ready to add to recipes. I recently came across a popsicle recipe that featured strawberries and basil. Of course, a more traditional use of basil is pesto. Nutritional yeast can be used in place of parmesan. If you want to up your calcium intake even more, try making an almond-basil pesto. A half cup of almonds brings in another 192 milligrams of calcium.
#9 Soy milk
Manufacturers of soy milk frequently fortify this dairy alternative with calcium. So, a cup of fortified soy milk contains the same amount of calcium as the same serving of cow’s milk. Go for brands also fortified with vitamin D for healthy bones.