You hear all the time that you need to get plenty of calcium in your diet. If you’re allergic to dairy or are lactose intolerant, you will need to find a new way to get the calcium in the diet. This can initially seem impossible, but you’ll be surprised at the food and products that are extremely high in the mineral.
Here’s a look at 10 non-dairy products that you need to start adding to your diet. Even if you’re not allergic to dairy, they are good for lower calorie options to help you lose weight.
Stock Up on Milk Alternatives
You may think that because of the word “milk” in the alternatives that they will have some dairy in them. This isn’t true. The “milk” is just to make you feel like you’re drinking the same as your friends.
Soy and almond milk are the two most popular alternatives, but you can also stock up on coconut milk. When you start looking into the details, you can get all types of milk alternatives—some of them available easily in the grocery stores and others only available in specialist markets.
Soy milk is fortified calcium, but it still counts. After all, we count fortified vitamin D in dairy products as the right stuff, don’t we? Almond milk has natural calcium in it.
Look out for calcium carbonate on the soy milk and anything with fortified calcium. This is the best performing fortified milk on the market, as it is very like the calcium found in real dairy products.
Soy milk doesn’t have much of a different taste compared to normal milk. Coconut and almond milk you will taste a slight difference, which could put you off it in tea or coffee. Try adding a little cinnamon to help balance out the slightly nuttier taste.
Grab Your Leafy Greens
Did you know that leafy greens are full of calcium? The chances are that you’ve never even considered them. After all, dark leafy greens have no dairy and don’t even look anything like a dairy product!
It turns out that dark leafy greens are packed with so many nutrients that you never even considered. It’s why experts recommend dark leafy greens so much.
Out of all, kale is the one that you want to stock up on the most. Yes it ones of the more expensive options, but it’s so worth it when you have strong and healthy teeth and bones. You just need two cups of kale to replace the amount of calcium you get from a cup of milk.
While other dark leafy greens are good for calcium, they also can contain oxalic acid. The acid reacts in the digestive system and prevents the body from absorbing all the calcium on offer. You will still get plenty of the nutrient, but not quite as much as you would from kale.
Dark leafy greens are good for so many other nutrients. You’ll get all the antioxidants, iron, magnesium, and more through them. Even if you’re not replacing your dairy entirely for the calcium, you want to add dark leafy greens to your diet much more.
Try Out the Bok Choy
One vegetable you likely overlook in the supermarket is the bok choy. It’s understandable since you’re not used to it. It’s a fantastic Chinese cabbage and perfect for your stir fries. You want to add it to your diet when looking for dairy-alternatives for calcium.
Two cups of bok choy will give you a little less calcium than kale. This is almost the same amount of a glass of milk. You get fewer calories with the bok choy than you would with the milk!
Unlike other dark leafy greens, bok choy doesn’t have the oxalic acid. The amount of calcium that absorbs in your body from the vegetable is almost 100%. Of course, this will depend on other aspects of your diet and your health.
You’ll also get plenty of vitamins A and C from the vegetable. We also can’t overlook the fiber content, which will support your digestive system and help with the calcium absorption.
Don’t Forget the Seaweed
I promise this is the last vegetable. You want to start stocking up on those sea greens, like seaweed. There’s a reason the Japanese eat so many of them—and not just because they’re an island nation. Sea greens are packed with various nutrients, in much larger amounts than the traditional leafy greens.
You’ll get more calcium than in a glass of milk in two cups of seaweed. You also get plenty of iodine, which is essential for thyroid function. When your thyroid is working properly, your metabolism finds it easier to turn calories into energy. You’ll feel more alert, and your body will be able to absorb more nutrients from the food you eat.
There’s also plenty of fiber within seaweed. This keeps your digestive system working, so you get the nutrients into your body much easier.
Seaweed is becoming easier to get now thanks to more trade between nations and easier access to travel. You will usually find it in the international food aisle, or you may be able to go to your local Asian market.
Remember that I told you almond milk had natural calcium? Well, that’s due to the calcium in almonds. These nuts are the ones that you want to stock up on for snacks. At least make sure your trail mix has plenty of them!
One cup of almonds has double the amount of calcium than two cups of kale. That’s how good they are. You won’t want to eat the whole cup of almonds in one sitting, as they are also high in fats and calories. Did you know a cup of almonds includes as many as 1,000 calories?
While there’s plenty of calcium, you’ll also get plenty of other nutrients. Vitamin E and potassium are among the nutrients that you’ll stock up on with these snacks. They’re essential for a healthy lifestyle and plenty of energy throughout the day.
Crush up your nuts and sprinkle them over your porridge. You can also crush and use them as a meal in place of flour. Another alternative is to just have a handful as a fibrous and healthy snack during the day.
You can get some of the same benefits from almond butter. This is like peanut butter but made with almonds instead.
The only reason you will want to avoid almonds if is you’re allergic to them.
Grab the Sardines
You’ll be able to pick up sardines from the store in a tin. They will have the bones in them, but they’re worth the hassle for the calcium amounts.
Sardines are among the healthiest fish you could stock up on. Just seven sardines will give you a third of your daily recommended amount. The calcium is also among the easiest for the body to absorb, partially due to the other nutrients that you’ll get; more specifically the vitamin D. The D vitamin is a necessity for the body to absorb calcium, but it can be difficult to get it if you don’t drink milk and you live in an area with little sun.
This is an oily fish. Full of omega 3, the fish is good for the brain. The omega 3 fatty acids can also help to energize your body over a longer term than most other snacks and foods.
You can enjoy sardines out of the can, or you can add them on top of a salad. They can be eaten hot or cold.
Switch Sardines for the Salmon
If you’re not too certain about the sardines, then you can still get an oily fish into your diet. Salmon is packed with calcium. Half a can of salmon will give you a fifth of your recommended daily allowance. You want to make sure you pick up a can with bones in. It’s the ones that have the calcium. Don’t worry; the bones will be crushed enough to make it possible to eat them.
Canned salmon is certainly the most affordable option for your calcium. If you have a little cash to burn, get a salmon fillet or even a whole salmon. Look for those that still have the bones, so you get some of the calcium absorbing into the fish. You won’t be able to eat the bones unless you get the salmon from the can.
Like sardines, you’ll get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids from salmon. In fact, this is one of the best foods for brain power.
Enjoy Some Sesame Seeds
One of the most commonly overlooked seeds is sesame seeds. They’re usually enjoyed with your Chinese takeaway or if you like to make your Chinese dishes and that’s it. Well, it’s time to stock up on them for the calcium.
If you’re not that interested in sesame seeds, then at least opt for the oil. Just a tablespoon of the oil will give you around 10% of your daily recommended amount of calcium. It’s very easy to add the oil to your diet. You can use the oil through oil pulling or add it to your cooking, replacing your usual vegetable or corn oil.
Sesame seeds on their own are good for other reasons, too. They’re full of anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce bloating and fight against some issues within the digestive system. You’ll find it easier to enjoy your meals, get your immune system fully working, and absorb all the nutrients you eat. They are also packed with antioxidants, helping to fight against some cancers.
Enjoy your sesame seeds with your almonds as a healthy and filling snack. You’ll be surprised by the health benefits!
Replace Meat with Tofu
How about not just a dairy alternative, but a meat alternative? Tofu is an excellent alternative for getting calcium in your diet. Just over a serving will give you the same as a glass of milk.
We know that this isn’t exactly appealing to some. It’s a mixture of soybeans grounded together and boiled. It’s completely vegan and vegetarian-friendly, but does have a taste that you’ll need to get used to.
The great thing about tofu isn’t just the calcium. You will also get plenty of protein without the extra fat. You’ll have the muscle building nutrients while helping to support your teeth and bones. It is the best alternative for milk when you want the same benefits.
There are different ways that you can enjoy tofu to get used to the taste. Caramelised tofu is a popular option, and won’t get rid of any of the nutrients.
Stock Up on the Right Cereals
Do you enjoy Cheerio’s? Ever heard that they’re bad for you and full of sugar? Well, some of them can be, but it will depend on the brand, and the added extras are thrown in. Regular Cheerio’s are surprisingly good for you. They even have plenty of calcium.
You can also get the calcium benefits from other cereals and grains. Look out for the cereals that don’t have added sugar and are made from natural ingredients. Those with excellent sources of fiber, usually have excellent sources of calcium.
You can get more than 85% of your daily recommended allowance from half a cup of cereal. Look out for old-fashioned oats, and you’re onto a winner! You don’t need to make them with milk. Opt for water to keep the calories down but still get a similar taste. You can always use almond or soy milk if you want.
Get Your Calcium Without the Dairy
It’s time to get all the calcium in your diet without having to touch dairy. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice or a dietary necessity, you’ll want to find the best sources of calcium to replace them with. This is a nutrient that we tend to overlook, forgetting the importance of our bones and teeth until it’s too late.