Part 2: How Much Daily Calcium Do I Need? From What Food Sources? Milk Alternatives?

Part 2:  How Much Daily Calcium Do I Need?

Here is a list of the current daily recommended calcium requirements:

1 – 3 year old   500mg

4 – 8 year old   800mg

9 – 18 year old   1300mg

19 – 50 years old   1000mg

51+ years   1200 mg

What foods contain significant sources of well-absorbed calcium?

Check out the calcium amounts in the following list of foods per food group. Make note of those you frequently eat and add up the calcium mgs to see what your current daily intake is.


Milk 1c   300mg

Buttermilk 1c   300mg

Hard cheddar or mozzarella cheese 1oz   200mg

Swiss or Gruyere cheese 1oz   270mg

Parmesan cheese 1T   70mg

Ice Cream 1/2c   100mg

Carnation Instant Breakfast 1 pkt   250mg

Nonfat dry milk powder 5T   300mg

Yogurt, nonfat 1c   300mg

Greek Yogurt 1c   187mg


Acorn Squash 1c   90mg

Arugula, raw 1c   125mg

Broccoli 1c   180mg

Chard/Okra   100mg

Spinach, cooked 1c   240mg


Dried Figs 1c   300mg

Kiwi 1c   50mg

Orange Juice (fortified with calcium) 1c   300mg


Garbanzo Beans 1c   80mg

Legumes, general, cooked 1/2c   15-50mg

White Beans 1/2c   70mg

Tofu, firm, calcium set 1/2c   250-750mg

Tofu, soft, regular 1/2c   120-390mg


Mackerel, canned 3oz   250mg

Salmon, canned with bones 3oz   170-210mg

Sardines 3oz   370mg

Shrimp, canned 3oz   125 mg


Cereals (calcium fortified) ½-1c    250-1000mg

Amaranth, cooked 1/2c.   135mg

Bread (calcium fortified) 1 slice    150-200mg

Brown rice, long grain 1c   50mg

Oatmeal, instant 1 pkg   100-150mg

Tortillas 2   85 mg


Almonds 1oz   80mg

Sunflower seeds, dried 1oz   50mg

Sesame seeds, whole, roasted 1 oz   280mg

Molasses, blackstrap 1 T   135mg


Overwhelmed by Milk Substitutes? Here Are Five Healthy Choices

 Comparison of 2% Milk to Milk Substitutes*

Type of Milk


Calories Total Fat Protein Calcium (%Daily Value)
2% Milk 130 5.0g 8g 25%
Flax Milk 50 2.5g 0g 30%
Soy Milk 90 3.5g 6g 45%
Almond Milk 60 2.5g 1g 45%
Coconut Milk 80 5.0g 1g 45%
Rice Milk 120 2.5g 1g 30%

*Per 1-cup serving: Most store – bought alternative milks are calcium-fortified.

Today milk alternatives are not just widely available; they’re also growing in popularity. Milk substitutes fill a dietary void for vegans, animal advocates, people with high cholesterol, those with dairy allergies, and the estimated 30 million people who are lactose intolerant.

If you have challenges getting enough calcium in your diet, you may want to consider taking a good calcium supplement.

Next article Part 3:  How to Choose a Calcium Supplement

Author: Michelle Hanson

Michelle Hanson, MA, RD, LD is Fresh & Natural Food’s Registered Dietitian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics with a minor in Community Health from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is a registered dietitian and current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Michelle has been a nutrition consultant for numerous years as well as a nutrition research director at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Michelle is passionate about food and nutrition and believes in helping people find simple, realistic ways to make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle.
If you are interested in meeting Michelle or have questions for her, you can email her at: She will look forward to meeting you!