Calcium is an important nutrient to have in your diet. It supports optimal bone strength, and thereby helps to support your skeletomuscular system. The average person needs to consume approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily to retain optimal bone, muscle and dental health. If you are someone who loves to drink milk and consumes dairy regularly, then this is probably not a problem for you. However, those who prefer to avoid dairy may need to find alternative ways to bring calcium into their diets.
While there are plenty of ways to include dairy in your diet as you are trying to lose weight, cutting back on some of the more common forms of dairy, including whole milk, ice cream, and even cheese may be recommended during your weight loss program. If you are cutting back on dairy, it is a good idea to make sure that you know you are getting the nutrients you are missing out on in other places in your diet.
Here are some suggestions for alternative calcium sources:
- Canned seafood: This is a great protein heavy and low-calorie food option as you are working towards losing weight. There are plenty of different options, too, so if you aren’t a fan of traditional sardines, you may enjoy trying canned salmon or tuna. A 3-ounce container of canned salmon contains just under 200 milligrams of calcium.
- Fortified drinks: Switching up your morning juice routine is a good idea if you are looking to lose weight, as many juices are heavy in sugar. There are some fortified juices available that are reduced in sugar contents and fortified with calcium. Six ounces of fortified orange juice has over 250 milligrams of calcium.
- Beans: Beans, beans, they are good for your heart and your bones. One cup of black-eyed peas has almost 200 milligrams of calcium. The best way to prepare beans is by soaking them first for an extended period of time, which reduces the appearance of phytate—a naturally occurring substance found in beans that reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Vegetables: Including more vegetables in your diet is recommended for your weight loss efforts, anyways, but foods like kale, broccoli, turnip greens, okra, spinach, and cabbage are also loaded with calcium. One cup of raw chopped kale has 100 milligrams of calcium.
There is no reason to be low on calcium by cutting down on dairy in your diet. Try including some of these suggested foods to ensure your nutrient needs are being met. Of course, consult with your weight loss doctor before making any changes to your weight loss plan.