(For)Get Milk? 5 Non-Dairy Calcium Sources


By: StacyAtZeel

Quirky pixie dream girl Maggie Gyllenhaal is the most recent celebrity to flaunt the famous milk mustache on behalf of the “Got Milk” campaign. “Ooh-la-latte,” the leopard clad actress proclaims while prominently displaying a mug of the foamy milk-laced morning beverage.

Yet while milk is perhaps the best known source of calcium—touted for its ability to strengthen bones, nails, teeth and hair—it’s not the only way to get your fix of this nutrient. (Dairy-shunning vegans have known this secret for years.)

Lactose intolerant or not, here are five très bon dairy-free (and delicious!) ways to get your daily dose of calcium—which by the way, is about 1,000 milligrams.

Orange Juice

Your morning glass of OJ doesn’t just fill you up with oodles of vitamin C; it also packs in a serious punch of this bone-building nutrient. Just make sure to look for calcium-fortified orange juice next time you hit the grocery store. Six ounces of this citrusy liquid is all it takes to get 380 milligrams closer to your daily target.


Four ounces, or one portion, of tofu contains nearly 400 mg of calcium, nearly half of your daily requirement. Look for tofu—a low-cal soy derivative—that’s marked as calcium-curded. Most Chinese kinds of tofu are produced using calcium sulfate, a natural coagulant which yields a slightly firm texture.


For clients who struggle with lactose-intolerance, Zeel Expert registered dietitian Lisa Moskovitz recommends salmon. You can get your fill of calcium with a three-ounce serving of the pink-hued fish, which boasts approximately 180 mg of the alkaline element. As Lisa explains, most fish with bones offer significant amounts of calcium, including sardines and mackerel.


Leafy green vegetables tend to have lots of calcium, and kale is no exception. One cup of cooked kale has roughly 100 mg. More importantly, kale contains a form of calcium that’s bioavailable, which means your body can easily absorb the nutrient. Spinach, which contains almost 25 percent more calcium per cup, is a less effective source of calcium since it is less bioavailable.


Heart-healthy seeds are a great way to get the calcium you need, says Brooklyn-based registered dietitian Natasha Uspensky. Sesame seeds, for example, contain as much as 350 mg of calcium in a quarter of a cup. Just sprinkle your sesame seeds atop a serving of salmon, and you’ve nearly met your daily calcium quota.