Calcium rich foods for dairy-free eaters

It's an essential factor in maintaining healthy bones, but not everyone can get their calcium intake from milk or its by-products.

Low intakes of calcium have been closely linked with osteoporosis, a condition which can result in easy bone fractures.

The best way to up your intake is to eat a diet rich in calcium; the Australian Government recommends three to five serve servings of calcium rich food daily, with 804 grams per day for adult men and women.

This figure increases to 1,100 milligrams for post-menopausal women.

But despite the common belief, it’s not just milk and cheese that help bump up our calcium levels; these dairy-free foods are also a great way of keeping your bones strong.

Dark leafy greens

There’s so much noise around the benefits of dark greens like kale, spinach and collard for their detoxing benefits, but these healthy veggies are also packed full of bone-loving calcium. Try munching on a bunch of crispy kale chips, add kale to salads, pies and even breakfast.

Dried figs and apricots

These naturally sweet treats are more than just a great snack option; they’re also packed full of calcium for optimal bone health. Pack a handful for work or school and enjoy on their own, or add them to your homemade cakes and slices.

fig and chocolate caramel slice

Dried figs work beautifully in this gorgeous chocolate caramel slice recipe.


This humble little vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients such as vitamin K and C, folate, potassium and dietary fibre. It’s also one of the best plant-based sources of calcium, so try adding it to your stir-fries, casseroles and soups.

Canned fish

As well as being super convenient for fast, on-the-go lunch or dinner options, canned fish is an excellent source of calcium if you opt for the varieties with the bones included. The fish bones, it should be pointed out, are naturally soft and easy to eat and add a great texture to your meals. Look for canned salmon and sardines for the highest calcium concentration, and add them to fish cakes, [salads]|target=”_blank”) or pasta dishes.


This crunchy vegetable has a unique flavour and texture, making it the ingredient of choice for many stews and curries. It also happens to be rich in calcium, creating an excellent alternative to dairy products. Include it alongside your roast dinners as a steamed side, or toss through stir-fries for a textural punch you’ll love.

White beans

Apart from being an excellent source of meat-free iron, protein and fibre, many common bean varieties are full of calcium. White beans, like cannellini and navy beans, are particularly rich in vitamins, with up to 442 milligrams of calcium per 100 gram serving.

They’re easily incorporated into many recipes too like soups, stews and salads.

kingfish with salsa verde and white bean puree

Or, mash them up and use in place of potato as a base for your meat and seafood dishes.


These versatile little nuts are delicious eaten on their own straight from the bag, tossed through salads, used in sweet desserts or ground up as a gluten-free substitute for flour. They can also be strained and turned into an excellent dairy-free ‘milk’, making the ultimate alternative for your morning cereal.

Tofu and other soy products

Soy is an excellent alternative to dairy products, both in terms of calcium content and flavour. Regular milk can easily be switched out for soy, tofu can be used in place of meat, and edamame beans are brilliant enjoyed steamed with a dash of salt alongside sushi.

Try tossing grilled tofu through this delicious zucchini and pesto noodle recipe.

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