Don’t Like Milk? Try These High-Calcium Foods Instead

A glass of milk typically has about 300 mg of calcium, or roughly 30% of the recommended daily intake. While milk is an excellent source of calcium, there are plenty of other foods that deliver just as much, if not more of this bone-healthy nutrient. It may be surprising to find out that certain fish, vegetables, and seeds are all packed with calcium!

Sardines

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It may come as a surprise to hear that a 3.75 ounce can of sardines has even more calcium in it than milk does! That’s largely due to the bones, which are safe to digest and packed with nutrients.

Sardines may be a little intimidating to eat, but there are plenty of recipes out there that make the look and taste milder. They can be a great addition to salads, curry, casserole, or can be grilled as an appetizer!

Mustard Greens

CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images

If you haven’t heard of mustard greens, it may be time to get on the bandwagon. Belonging to the cabbage family, this is a low-calorie food packed with micronutrients. Just one cup has 64 mg of calcium.

Sautee a few cups of mustard greens as a side and you’ve got just as much calcium as 5 ounces of milk! This leafy vegetable also has 65% of your daily value of vitamin C in each cup!

Chia Seeds

chia-seeds
ValeriaLu/Pixabay
ValeriaLu/Pixabay

Each tablespoon of chia seeds contains almost 90 mg of calcium, or about 10% of your daily value. Sprinkle a few tablespoons onto a meal or blend it into a smoothie for about the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk.

Another delicious way to consume chia seeds is to make chia seed pudding! It’s a healthy dessert that is also packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats! Chia seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium.

Almonds

almonds
Free-Photos/Pixabay
Free-Photos/Pixabay

It may be surprising to hear that a cup of almonds has even more calcium in it than a cup of milk! However, almonds are also high in fat, so a serving is typically closer to a quarter cup.

Still, one serving will yield about 90 mg of calcium, which is about a tenth of your daily value. Almonds are also a great source of protein, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Snacking on almonds or almond butter can keep you feeling satisfied and help your bones stay strong.

Canned Salmon

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Eddy Buttarelli/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Salmon filets are so widely available and delicious that you may have never thought to buy the fish canned. One good reason to opt for canned variety is due to the high calcium content.

Canned salmon that has the bones included boasts a quarter of your daily dose of calcium in every 3-ounce can! It also features 20 grams of protein and 4% of your daily iron intake. Just be wary of the high sodium and cholesterol content.

Broccoli Rabe

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Broccoli’s leafy cousin, broccoli rabe, contains 108 mg of calcium per half-cup. This means that 1.5 cups of broccoli rabe has more calcium than a glass of milk! Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is also very low in calories but high in protein and fiber.

It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K and contains high levels of folate, thiamin, and other vital micronutrients. With so many health benefits, it’s surprising broccoli rabe isn’t more popular!

Sesame Seeds

Pezibear/Pixabay
Pezibear/Pixabay

Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds contains 88 mg of calcium, meaning that 3 servings have almost as much as an entire glass of milk! Sesame seeds have roughly the same amount of calcium as they do iron and magnesium.

They are also a good source of vitamin B-6, protein, and fiber. Each tablespoon of sesame seeds contains 4.5 grams of predominantly healthy fats, with only 0.6 saturated fat. Add sesame seeds to salads or side dishes for a boost of calcium.

Oranges And Orange Juice

orange-juice
Jan Vašek/Pixabay
Jan Vašek/Pixabay

Oranges have naturally-occurring calcium in them. Each large orange has 74 mg of calcium in it, or about the same amount as two ounces of milk. However, this calcium gets lost when the fruit is squeezed into juice.

That’s why many brands fortify their orange juice with calcium. A glass of fortified orange juice contains just as much calcium as a glass of milk! Plus, it’s loaded with vitamin C and a great source of potassium and thiamine.

Tofu

tofu
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Tofu is loaded with calcium, but it varies widely depending on the brand. Even the lower-calcium brands contain almost as much calcium per serving as an entire cup of milk!

The higher-calcium varieties have as much as 861 mg of calcium per half-cup, which is about 86% of your minimum daily value! Tofu is also a good source of protein, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus. Its nutritional makeup makes tofu a popular pick among vegans and vegetarians.

Amaranth

amaranth
tetep_cs/Pixabay
tetep_cs/Pixabay

Amaranth is a seed that’s similar to quinoa and is loaded with nutritional benefits. One cup contains roughly the same amount of calcium in it as a glass of milk! It also boasts half your daily recommended intake of manganese.

Amaranth is also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. The seed should be eaten cooked, not raw. It is often made into a hot cereal, polenta, or used as a veggie or side topper.

Butternut Squash

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Butternut squash is an excellent starch replacement for low-carb meals, especially since it’s loaded with nutrients. Two cups of butternut squash is only 126 calories and has as much calcium in it as half a cup of milk.

The vegetable is also extremely high in vitamin A, which 300% of your daily value in just one cup! A cup of butternut squash also contains half a day’s worth of vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber.

Almond Milk

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Eddy Buttarelli/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’re looking for a milk substitute with a comparable amount of calcium, almond milk may be the right choice. It has naturally occurring calcium from the almonds, but many brands also fortify the milk with extra calcium.

Depending on the brand, one serving of almond milk typically has between 25% and 45% of your daily value of calcium! That’s right on par with dairy milk, plus it has about a third of the calories.

Pinto Beans

Sheepscot General Store
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Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Many legumes are an excellent source of calcium, and pinto beans are particularly popular because they’re budget-friendly and delicious, in addition to being super nutritious. Just one cup of pinto beans provides about 8% of your daily calcium requirement.

These tasty little beans are also a good source of fiber (15 grams per cup), manganese, plant protein, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Try putting pinto beans in rice dishes, soups, and stews.

Kale

kale
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Kale has risen in popularity as one of the more well-known superfoods. However, it still may come as a surprise that 2 cups of kale provides about the same amount of calcium as 5 ounces of milk!

The nutrient kale is most rich in is vitamin K, providing almost a week’s worth of the nutrient in just a single cup! Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. The low-calorie food is also a good source of protein and fiber.

Yogurt

yogurt
Aline Ponce/Pixabay
Aline Ponce/Pixabay

Being that yogurt is derived from milk, it probably isn’t much of a surprise that it is also very high in calcium. To top it off, some yogurt brands are even higher in calcium than milk!

A cup of plain yogurt contains 300 mg of calcium, while low-fat variations boast closer to 400 mg per cup! Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein but contains about 2/3 the calcium found in milk, which is still impressive.

Collard Greens

collard-greens
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Collard greens feature 84 mg of calcium in each cup! Since the leafy greens are low calorie and shrink when cooked, it would be easy to consume a large side of them in one sitting.

Just three cups of raw collard greens would be about the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk and only 33 calories! Plus, they are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. To top it off, there are 1.4 grams of fiber in each cup!

Dried Figs

Ulrike Leone/Pixabay
Ulrike Leone/Pixabay

Dried figs are a great source of calcium, with each one containing about 1% of your daily value, or 15 mg. That means that 10 dry figs would contain 150 mg of calcium, the equivalent of roughly half a glass of milk!

The one downside about this snack is that, like many dried fruits, they are high in sugar. However, figs are also loaded with fiber that helps keep you full and balances out some of their carbohydrates.

Edamame

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A one-cup serving of edamame contains about 98 mg of calcium, or roughly 10% of your daily value. Incorporating this healthy snack into your diet could easily replace the calcium gained from a glass of milk.

Edamame also boasts a whopping 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in each cup. There’s also twice as much potassium in a serving of edamame as there is in a banana! The low-calorie food is also loaded with healthy fats.

Okra

okra
Hanxiao/Unsplash
Hanxiao/Unsplash

One cup of okra contains 82 mg of calcium, or about the same amount that’s in a quarter cup of milk. The great thing about this vegetable is there are so many different ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Some like to toss okra into a stew, deep fry it as an appetizer, or bake it as a side! A cup of okra also boasts 14% of your daily value of vitamin A and magnesium.

Cheese

DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Since cheese comes from milk, it tends to be a good source of calcium, though the content varies by type. The cheese that has the most calcium in it is parmesan. A single ounce has more calcium in it than an entire glass of milk!

Something to keep in mind, though, is that parmesan is also high in sodium and saturated fat, so moderation is key. Ricotta cheese is also high in calcium, with 335 mg in every 4 ounces!

Bok Choy

bok-choy
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One cup of bok choy contains the same amount of calcium that’s in about half a glass of milk. The leafy vegetable is also loaded with vitamin A, providing more than a day’s worth in one cup.

Bok choy also contains a high amount of vitamins C and K, and it’s a great source of folate. It is often served as a side in Asian cuisine and is typically prepared by steaming or sauteeing the leaves.

Fortified Soy Milk

soymilk
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Nate Parsons/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Regular soy milk has just 6% of your daily value of calcium, but some brands are fortified so that they have a nutritional makeup that’s more similar to dairy milk. Fortified soy milk contains 367 mg of calcium per serving, which is even more than cow’s milk!

It is also an excellent source of phosphorous, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Fortified soy milk boasts 7 grams of protein and only half a gram of saturated fat.

Broccoli

broccoli
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Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One cup of broccoli contains 87 mg of calcium, or about the same amount that’s in 3 ounces of milk. A serving also contains 2 and a half grams of both protein and fiber.

The vegetable is 89% water, so there are only 31 calories in each cup. Broccoli is also a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. A cup also contains 14% of your daily value of folate and 10% of your daily dose of manganese.

Shrimp

shrimp
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A cup of shrimp contains about half as much calcium as a glass of milk! A serving size is typically half of that due to its high protein content, as it contains 24 grams in just 4 ounces!

Shrimp also has a mere 100 calories in one serving and is a good source of potassium and magnesium. The fish is high in cholesterol, though, with 63% of the daily recommended intake in just half a cup.

Oatmeal

oatmeal
Alex Motoc/Unsplash
Alex Motoc/Unsplash

A cup of oatmeal provides roughly the same amount of calcium as 5 ounces of milk! If you make the oatmeal with almond or soymilk, it would have an even higher calcium content, too.

Oatmeal is also an excellent source of iron, providing 77% of your daily dose in each cup. It is also a great source of vitamin B-6, magnesium, and vitamin A. Each serving also has 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

Sunflower Seeds

sunflower-seeds
Pezibear/Pixabay
Pezibear/Pixabay

A cup of sunflower seeds contains about 10% of your daily value of calcium, as well as a day’s worth of magnesium and vitamin B-6. However, sunflower seeds are also very high in fats, so a serving size is typically closer to a quarter cup.

Adding some sunflower seeds to a salad or incorporating sunflower seed butter into your diet can be an easy way to boost your calcium intake. They are also a great source of iron with about 10% of your daily value in each serving.

Sweet Potatoes

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Looking for a healthy alternative to appease your sweet tooth? Try sweet potatoes! They’re not only are loaded with fiber and vitamin B-6, but they also have 68 mg of calcium in each serving.

Combined with the other items on this list, getting a sufficient amount of calcium without consuming milk is a breeze. Plus, one sweet potato has almost four days worth of the recommended vitamin A intake! They also boast 4 grams of fiber and 12% of your daily value of potassium.

Arugula

Arugula
Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Each cup of arugula has 32 mg of calcium, which is only a tenth of the calcium in a glass of milk. However, there are also only 5 calories in a cup of arugula, so consuming it in large quantities is easy to do.

Toss a couple of cups onto a pizza or into a smoothie for an extra boost of calcium that won’t make you overly full. Plus, each cup contains 28% of your daily intake of vitamin K!

White Beans

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A one-cup serving of white beans contains 161 mg of calcium, or a little more than half a cup of milk does. It also contains a whopping 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, keeping you satisfied for longer.

A serving of white beans also contains more than half your daily value of copper and 36% of your daily dose of folate and of iron! They are also a great source of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Frozen Yogurt

frozen-yogurt
Getty Images
Getty Images

If you’re looking for a high-calcium dessert, frozen yogurt may be the way to go. Like many other dairy products, it’s a great source of calcium. 12 ounces has the same amount of calcium in it as a glass of milk!

Since frozen yogurt is high in sugar, a serving size is typically closer to half a cup. Even that small amount still contains 3 grams of protein and is a good source of potassium and vitamin B-6.

Pudding

pudding
RitaE/Pixabay
RitaE/Pixabay

Pudding delivers roughly the same amount of calcium per cup as milk! Since it is high in sugar, a serving is typically half a cup. Even that small amount still delivers about 5 grams of protein, which is great for a dessert.

The treat is also a good source of vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium. About half of its fat content is saturated, so it’s a good idea to have it in moderation, as with all treats.