“Got Milk” ads may have warped your brain into thinking that getting a milk mustache is the only way to consume bone-strengthening calcium, but that’s not really the case. For the many people who have an intolerance or allergy to dairy products (and even for those who can tolerate it), it’s important to know that there are foods that contain as much (or more) calcium than milk or dairy.
Check out these non-dairy foods high in calcium (natural or fortified) to aid bone and tooth health, muscle development and more.
1. Fish with bones: Canned salmon or sardines — both with bones — can provide 20 to 30 percent of your daily recommended value of calcium. Try not to dwell on the “bone” part; they become soft during the canning process so they are easily consumed and you likely won’t even notice.
2. Bone broth: Just as bones provide absorbable calcium in seafood, drinking or cooking with bone broth from chicken, beef or other meats packs great benefits. It’s easy to make at home and is cost-effective, too!
>> Read more: Should You Be Drinking Bone Broth?
3. White beans: One cup of canned white beans contains 191 milligrams of calcium — nearly 20 percent of the daily recommended value. It’s a food you should always keep in your pantry.
4. Fig: Fresh figs are nutritious, but they’re also hard to come by as they don’t last long after harvested. Even dry figs have more calcium than skim milk, so snack on them year-round for bone-strengthening benefits.
5. Broccoli: While it may be lower in calcium content than other foods, it’s highly absorbed by the body. Milk is a strong source of calcium, but only a small percentage of it is actually absorbable, so this green veggie is a smart alternative!
6. Dark leafy greens: Kale, turnip greens or collard greens pack a punch in calcium. They also contain high amounts of vitamin K1, which is crucial in keeping calcium in our bones and out of our arteries!
>> Make your own crispy kale chips! Click here for the recipe or watch the video below.
7. Instant oatmeal: For an easy option that's fortified with calcium, indulge in your favorite no-sugar-added instant oatmeal! You'll kickstart your morning with a healthy dose of calcium and it'll be easier to reach your daily value.
>> Read more: Skinny Mom Guide to Oatmeal
8. Black-eyed peas: Eat these beans for more than New Year's luck! Black-eyed peas pack nearly 20 percent of your daily value per half cup and they're also a strong source of potassium, fiber and protein.
>> Try these Slow Cooker Southern Black-Eyed Peas. Click here for the recipe!
9. Almonds: A half-cup serving of almonds contains about 18 percent of your recommended daily calcium value. And because they aid in weight loss, heart health and more, they're a smart snack option any day.
10. Oranges and orange juice: Oranges are a strong source of vitamin C and contain about 65 milligrams healthy calcium. Orange juice, though it should be consumed in moderation, is fortified with over 500 milligrams of calcium per serving!
11. Edamame: A cup of cooked edamame carries nearly 10 percent of your recommended daily calcium intake, 8 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein. Add a little sea salt and it's also a smart snack if you're interested in losing weight!
12. Tofu: Many herbivores already know the benefits this meat alternative packs, but it's also one of the greatest alternatives to milk for calcium! Each half cup contains over 80 percent of the recommended daily value.
13. Sesame seeds: Toss these seeds into your favorite recipes, as a tablespoon carries 88 milligrams of calcium! Sesame seeds are also a strong source of other minerals and nutrients, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.