Skip to content
Home » Meeting Your Calcium Needs without Dairy

Meeting Your Calcium Needs without Dairy

For most of us, when we think of calcium, we think of dairy products. But calcium can also be found in many non-dairy sources of food. This can be particularly helpful if you are sensitive to dairy products or follow a plant-based diet. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is required for the following functions:

• Bone health: 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth. Until you reach older adulthood, your body is constantly rebuilding and strengthening your bones, requiring a regular intake of calcium.
• Heart function: Calcium keeps your heart muscle pumping.
• Nerve transmission: Calcium fires cell signals that direct your muscles to contract and get you moving.

In order to keep all these systems in peak working condition requires a diet rich in calcium. The recommendations for calcium depend on your age.
• Women under 50 years of age need 1,000 milligrams daily
• Men under 71 years of age require 1000 milligrams daily
• Women older than 50 years of age and men older than 71 years of age require 1,200 milligrams daily

Older adults need more calcium to protect their bone health and stave off osteoporosis, a common bone disease that can develop as you age. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones, limited mobility, and costly surgeries.

Pro tip: If a food label states that the product provides 30 percent of your daily calcium requirement, add a zero to find out how much that is in milligrams — in this case, you’d be getting 300 mg. Here are some non-dairy sources of calcium to help you achieve your daily requirements:


Sardines with bones 3 ounces: 325mg
Salmon with bones 3 ounces: 180mg
Navy Beans: 125 mg
Tofu with calcium 3 ounces: 100mg
Soybeans, cooked 1/2 cup: 88mg
Rainbow Trout 3 ounces: 73mg
Almonds 1 ounce: 72mg
White Beans: 71mg


Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup: 136 mg
Collard Greens, cooked 1/2 cup: 133mg
Turnip Greens, cooked 1/2 cup: 124mg
Okra, cooked 1/2 cup: 89mg
Bok Choy, cooked 1/2 cup: 79mg
Mustard Greens, cooked 1/2 cup: 53mg
Kale, cooked 1/2 cup: 47mg
Broccoli, cooked 1/2 cup: 35mg


Calcium Fortified Orange Juice 1 cup: 350mg
Rhubarb, cooked 1/2 cup: 174mg
Figs, dried 3 pieces: 82mg
Orange, medium: 52mg
Blackberries 1 cup: 46mg
Avocado, raw: 33mg

Plant-Based Milk Substitutes

Almond Milk: 450mg
Coconut Milk: 450mg
Soy Milk, 1 cup: 350mg
Soy Yogurt, 1 cup: 300mg
Rice Milk, 1 cup: 283mg


Calcium Fortified Cereal 1 ounce: 200-300mg
Calcium Fortified Oatmeal 1/2 cup: 110mg
Corn Tortilla: 40mg


Black Strap Molasses, 1 Tablespoon: 177mg

Content submitted by Janyce Gately – MS, RD, LDN, CHWC