For women, a diet rich in calcium is important to bone health, especially at midlife. Calcium helps keep bones and muscles strong and healthy and helps prevent osteoporosis. While everyone needs a diet that includes a healthy dose of calcium, post-menopausal women especially need to focus on a diet that supplies the calcium they need. It only takes your first bone density test as part of an annual physical to get a wake up call about the fact that bones naturally lose their density over time. I can promise you’ll walk away from that test with a renewed focus on strong bones, and what to include in your diet that will ensure you get the calcium you need. With that in mind, here are some easy ideas of things you can include in your diet on a weekly basis to help hit those calcium goals.
Raspberry Peach Mango Smoothie Bowl
If you’re looking for a way to start your day off right while supporting your bone health, put together this yummy smoothie bowl from the recipe experts at EatingWell. Full of fruit, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and sliced almonds, it’s no surprise this breakfast treat has 319 mg of calcium.
Tofu and Vegetable Scramble
For those mornings when vegetables sound more tempting than fruit, EatingWell’s got you covered once again. You can make the flavorful Tofu and Vegetable Scramble by combining your favorite vegetables—such as zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms—with calcium-rich foods like tofu and cheddar cheese. This tasty mix should get you a whopping 652 mg of calcium to build bone health and if you’ve not yet tried tofu, maybe it’s a good time to start. It surprised me, I’ll admit it.
Tofu Stir-Fry with Fried Rice
Once you’re on the tofu train and if you tried and like the tofu scramble here’s another healthy, calcium-packed meal that you can try for dinner sometime—Tofu Stir-Fry with Fried Rice. Food Network put this one together, and some of the main ingredients happen to be well-known calcium-rich foods like Bok Choy and tofu. We’ve recommended these before to anyone who needs more calcium in their diet for better bone health, but if you’ve been struggling to figure out how to fit these in, this stir-fry is a great option.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini
One of the things I love most about fall is comfort food. And for me, spaghetti squash falls squarely in that comfort food realm. It’s quick, easy, and totally different than the things I cook and eat the rest of the year. Reminiscent of pasta and so, so tasty, this vegetable-heavy dish is one of my go-to favorite dishes and is chock full of calcium. From EatingWell, this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini is amazing. If you’ve not yet tried spaghetti squash, you’re totally missing out! It’s the best way to trick your brain into thinking you’re eating carb-laden spaghetti noodles—but you’re actually getting the fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium that this type of squash is known for. Add cheese, broccolini, garlic, and some seasonings and you’ve got a healthy dinner with 314 mg of calcium.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
I’ve been fully invested in all things pumpkin since about mid-September. I love it, and I love cooking with and eating things made with pumpkin. So it is no surprise that when I saw this receipt for a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, it immediately got my attention. The ingredients include Greek yogurt and almond milk, which both have lots of calcium, and the pumpkin puree and banana have their own health benefits. They all combine to offer 343 mg of calcium. I’ve been making this for myself in the mornings and my kids have been gobbling it down right alongside me and sometimes they even ask for it in the afternoon, as a post-school snack. That’s a win for me, for sure.
How Much Calcium Do Women Need for Bone Health?
Thinking about how much calcium we need on a daily basis is not something that’s top of mind for most of us, but it should be. If you’re like me, I’ve got 11-year-old kids who don’t drink milk and we don’t eat a ton of cheese, nor do I cook with it often. I like cheese I just don’t think that every meal needs to consist of something slathered in huge amounts of cheese in order to be good. So for us, factoring milk and cheese out of the equation, I’ve got to work hard to figure out not only how much calcium we all need on a daily basis, but where we’re going to get that calcium.
Note that the National Institutes of Health advises the following daily calcium intake depending on age:
|0–6 months*||200 mg||200 mg|
|7–12 months*||260 mg||260 mg|
|1–3 years||700 mg||700 mg|
|4–8 years||1,000 mg||1,000 mg|
|9–13 years||1,300 mg||1,300 mg|
|14–18 years||1,300 mg||1,300 mg||1,300 mg||1,300 mg|
|19–50 years||1,000 mg||1,000 mg||1,000 mg||1,000 mg|
|51–70 years||1,000 mg||1,200 mg|
|71+ years||1,200 mg||1,200 mg|
My kids, with growing bones, need 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day, and my husband and I need 1,200. The reality is that no matter how hard we try, we’re not getting that daily amount of calcium from our diets. That’s why understanding how much calcium you and your family need, knowing how to get it by way of the foods you eat, and then augmenting the balance with a calcium supplement is the way to stay healthy, and keep young bones growing and strong, and older bones healthy and strong. That’s where FitFormula’s Cal-EZ comes in. It’s powdered form is favorless and tasteless. I can add it to a smoothie or a glass of orange juice and I’ve got the daily calcium intake box checked. Want to check it out?
What about you? Do you think at all about how much calcium you need on a daily basis and whether you’re getting it from your food? Do you take a calcium supplement? Do you have some favorite recipes or tricks for getting more calcium in your diet from food? If so, I’d love to know your favorites.