Did you know that most plant-based foods are naturally rich in calcium? It’s true! Dairy isn’t your only source of this vital nutrient! So, what’s so vital about calcium?
Calcium is a “nutrient that all living organisms need … [and happens to be] the most abundant mineral in the body.” About 99 percent of the “body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth,” leading to the conclusion that calcium is vital for building and maintaining strong bones. With that said, calcium is also necessary for “muscle movement and cardiovascular function,” as well as “maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body.” Calcium also plays a partnering role with many enzymes making it an enzyme co-factor.
Plus, a calcium deficiency can be very serious causing severe symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, muscle spasms, numbness, — especially tingling in the hands, feet, and face — depression, hallucinations, muscle cramps, weak or brittle nails, and easily fractured bones. So, yeah, it’s pretty important!
How much calcium is enough for you? As with most nutritional guidelines, it’s all about age and gender. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adult women over the age of 51 should be consuming around 1,200 milligrams daily, while those between the ages of 19 and 50 are recommended to consume 1,000 milligrams daily, and young adults and teenagers between the ages of nine and 18 should get around 1,300 milligrams daily. Adult men over the age of 71 should be consuming around 1,200 milligrams daily and those between the ages of 19 and 70 years of age are recommended to consume around 1,000 milligrams daily. Younger males between the ages of nine and 18 should consume the same amount as females, around 1,300 milligrams daily.
When it comes to getting enough calcium on a plant-based diet, it’s all about making sure you’re food selection is diverse, varied, and filled with color! From soybeans to lentils to ancient grains and even a bit of natural, plant-based sweetener, you’ll find a plethora of calcium-rich foods in the plant world! Here are a few recipes to make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your plant-based diet!
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!
1. Roasted Tomato and Herb Quiche
Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein, which means it’s also great at filling your tummy! In fact, tofu is actually made with calcium phosphate, which means for every 100 grams of tofu you’ll get around 350 milligrams of calcium. This Roasted Tomato and Herb Quiche recipe by Jessica DeMarra is a great eggless breakfast (lunch or dinner!) recipe that’s filled with calcium-rich tofu!
2. Hearty Black Bean Soup
Beans are yet another source of plant-based protein that will also trigger those satiation systems! One cup of cooked black beans offers a whopping 11 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium. This Hearty Black Bean Soup recipe by Julie Zimmer is the perfect way to get that daily dose of black beans, plus make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week or even freeze it for later.
3. Sweet Potato and Lentil Patties
Lentils are not only rich in fiber, but they’re also a great source of protein and calcium! One cup of cooked lentils offers around 37 milligrams of calcium, which equates to around four percent of your recommended daily intake. This Sweet Potato and Lentil Patties recipe by Robin Browne incorporates those satiating, calcium-rich lentils with naturally sweet and nutrient-dense sweet potatoes for a wholesome, all around filling meal.
4. Almond Joy Oat Bran Granola Bars
Oftentimes, you just have time for a quick snack, yet you still want to get enough calcium. This Almond Joy Oat Bran Granola Bars recipe by Abby Thompson is filled with calcium-rich almonds — a fourth of a cup of almonds offers 35 grams of calcium, which equates to around 10 percent of your recommended daily intake — as well as oats, which are a great source of fiber!
5. Roasted Garlic Hummus
This Roasted Garlic Hummus recipe by Robin Browne sources one of the most powerful seed-based calcium ingredients — sesame seeds! With that said, when ground down into tahini, sesame seeds offer a more potent and powerful serving of calcium. For every two tablespoons of tahini butter, you’ll get a whopping 130 milligrams of calcium, which equates to about 13 percent of your recommended daily intake.
6. Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge
You may not think that grains offer any calcium, yet some of the ancient grains actually provide healthy doses. This Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge recipe by Claire Ragozzino is based around amaranth, which offers around 12 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium per cooked cup. On top of that, this amaranth-based porridge also incorporates energizing maca and natural sweetener maple!
7. Seaweed and Tofu Poke
Get a double dose of calcium-rich ingredients in this seaweed and tofu-filled Seaweed and Tofu Poke recipe by Molly Patrick. This recipe calls for wakame, which “provides around 126 mg, or 12 [percent] of the RDI per cup.”
8. Lasagna With Spinach and Mushrooms
Dark leafy greens are not only a great source of nutrient-dense vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, but a few of them are decent sources of calcium. This Lasagna With Spinach and Mushrooms recipe by Nikki Stokes is layered with spinach, which is one of the best sources of leafy green-based calcium. In one cup of raw spinach, you’ll get around 30 milligrams of calcium, which equates to around three percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium. This may not sound like much, but when cooked this leafy green deflates, which means you’ll end up using way more than one cup in most recipes!
9. Broccoli Veggie Dippers
While vegetables are the best source of calcium, there are a few that stand out from the crowd! For instance, one half-cup of cooked broccoli offers around three to six percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium. These super easy and incredibly tasty Broccoli Veggie Dippers by Ginny McMeans will make sure that you get as much of that broccoli as possible!
10. Blueberry Molasses Smoothie
While most sweeteners should be avoided, blackstrap molasses happens to be sweet and incredibly nutrient-dense. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses offers around 179 milligrams of calcium, which is around 18 percent of your recommended daily intake. On top of that, the “nutrients in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of blackstrap molasses can also help cover around [five to 15 percent] of your daily requirements for iron, selenium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese.” This Blueberry Molasses Smoothie recipe by Kennedy Kitchings mixes that calcium-rich blackstrap molasses with antioxidant powerhouse blueberry for a super nutritious and tasty smoothie.
11. Tofu ‘Shrimp’ Scampi
Looking for other ways to get more calcium-rich tofu into your diet? This Tofu ‘Shrimp’ Scampi recipe by Rhea Parsons is a super tasty, fun, and dinner party-friendly recipe. Plus, it calls for an entire 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, which means you’ll be getting more than just the 350 milligram dose of calcium!
12. Nourishing Black Bean Burger With Thousand Island Dressing
Get creative with your calcium consumption! This Nourishing Black Bean Burger With Thousand Island Dressing recipe by Maria Koutsogiannis sources those calcium-rich black beans — 11 percent of calcium per cooked cup — to create a drool-inducing burger.
13. Creamy Tahini Lentil Wraps
14. Braised Kale and Onion Almondine
This Braised Kale and Onion Almondine recipe by Deena Mehta is a great way to infuse your diet with calcium-rich almonds — a fourth of a cup of almonds has 35 grams of calcium — as well as another calcium-rich leafy green kale! One cup of cooked kale offers around 179 milligrams of calcium, which equates to 18 percent of your daily recommended values!
15. Moroccan-Spiced Vegetable and Tempeh Stew with Lemon Almond and Amaranth
This Moroccan-Spiced Vegetable and Tempeh Stew with Lemon Almond and Amaranth recipe by Nikki and Zuzana is a great example of a plant-based, calcium powerhouse of a recipe! It sources three calcium-rich ingredients: soybean-based tempeh, almonds, and amaranth!
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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