Week 10: Pump Up Calcium

Pump Up the Calcium

Getting the right amount of calcium is important because this mineral plays a role in building healthy bones, keeping blood pressure low and reducing risk for colorectal cancer. But most Americans are not meeting recommendations for calcium. 

  • Plant foods with calcium. You are now eating more plant foods and some of these can help boost calcium. Many are economical and delicious – keep reading to see how beans, greens and others can help pump up the calcium.
  • Calcium-rich dairy foods. Milk, yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium. If you enjoy these foods, including a couple of servings each day can get you well on your way to meeting calcium needs.

Conquer this challenge

Try calcium-containing plant foods

  • Eat calcium-rich beans ‘n’ greens
    • Beans: baked, black, Great Northern, navy, white, edamame
    • Leafy greens: collards, kale, mustard and turnip
  • Eat calcium-rich veggies: bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and okra
  • Buy calcium-fortified cereal, bread and 100 percent fruit juice
  • Buy tofu made with calcium sulfate

Choose dairy foods

  • Eat nonfat and low-fat yogurts with minimal added sugar (4 grams equals 1 teaspoon) and active cultures for probiotic advantage
  • Get Greek-style yogurt for a satiating snack: higher in protein, but may be lower in calcium than regular yogurt, so check label
  • Cook with reduced-fat cheese: ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella
  • Top soups, stews, casseroles, salads and veggies with cheese
  • Make or order pizza with reduced-fat cheeses: try on whole-wheat crust with lots of veggies. Let vendors know you want these options!

Ankles, Feet and Arches – Healthy Moves!


30-Minute Fun & Fit Cardio Workout with Denise Austin!

Strategies to use this week

  • For breakfast try reduced-fat cheese with sliced fruit and small whole-grain bagel or smoothie made with yogurt or use  a calcium fortified beverage like orange juice or soy or almond milk.
  • Lunch – make an entrée salad with tofu, edamame or black beans and/or reduced-fat cheese; try cooked kale in soup or as side dish
  • Dinner: reduced-fat ricotta cheese in pasta dishes; tofu vegetable stir-fry; use blackstrap molasses to glaze chicken or include in baked beans; make a meal focused on calcium-rich beans, greens and vegetables
  • Snacks: cappuccino or chai latte; reduced-fat yogurt with a little granola cereal and fresh fruit; string cheese; edamame; dried figs; 1/4 cup almonds
  • Desserts: puddings made with reduced-fat milk or calcium-fortified tofu or almond milk; parfaits made with yogurt and fruit; nonfat or low-fat frozen yogurt; dried figs and reduced-fat cheese

Making Easy Meals and Sweet Treats

NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Energize with quick meals and sweet treats!

Dig Deeper

Calcium recommendations for adults of 1000 to 1200 milligrams (mg) per day can be met by a balanced variety of healthy foods that includes 2½ to 3 standard servings of milk, yogurt or cheese and plenty of calcium-rich plant foods. Here are some examples:

Food Sources of Calcium: This fact sheet contains a list of calcium-rich foods and shows how much is in one serving.

Meeting calcium needs with plant foods:

Breakfast – Smoothie (click for recipe):

  • 1/2 cup soft tofu                                140 mg
  • 1/2 cup calcium-fortified OJ             175 mg


  • 3/4 cup white beans                          121 mg
  • 1/2 cup collard greens                       135 mg


  • 1 oz. almonds                                      75 mg


  • 1 cups calcium-fortified soy milk    300 mg

Miscellaneous in other foods           200 mg

TOTAL                                                 1146 mg

Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 8. Respect Your Body.