6 non-dairy foods you didn’t know contained calcium

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

It is a common belief that dairy products are the only source of calcium and that if you don’t drink that glass of milk daily, you will end up with brittle bones. This is terrible news for all those lactose-intolerant or dairy-sensitive individuals out there who just can’t stomach dairy. The good news is, there are non-dairy alternatives for calcium that can assist in building strong, healthy bones and maintaining a healthy nervous system.

1. Bone broth

This one is pretty obvious when you think about it. You are literally boiling up bones to the point where the minerals are leeched out into the liquid (broth) which you then drink. Calcium is stored in bones, so it makes sense that bone broth will contain a decent amount of calcium – about 300mg per cup to be specific.

2. Dried figs

This unsuspecting sweet fruit is actually a source of calcium, believe it or not. 5 dried figs contain about 200mg of calcium, which is about 20% of the RDI (recommend daily intake). You can eat them by themselves, or turn them into a slice, bliss balls or chop them through your morning granola.

3. Leafy greens

This one you may have heard, but it’s true – leafy greens contain calcium. Spinach, kale, silver beet, Bok choy, watercress, endive and rocket are all forms of leafy greens that can be eaten raw in salads, or steamed/ sautéed and served with your favourite protein. 1 cup of cooked leafy greens will provide you with about 180mg of calcium.

4. Sardines

These little fish are a rich source of calcium for those who don’t do dairy. The main reason for this is that those small soft bones that you consume when eating sardines, are loaded with calcium. A normal tin of sardines (about 100g) with the bones will give you about 300mg of calcium, which is roughly 30% of your daily requirements.

5. Amaranth

Amaranth is a small gluten-free ‘grain’ that can be used in porridge, cereal bars, added into stews, or used in baking. Amaranth is higher in minerals than most other grains. Half a cup of uncooked amaranth contains about 150mg of calcium.

6. Chia seeds

These little superfood seeds are a surprisingly great source of calcium. Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds will provide you with 120mg of calcium. Adding a couple of tablespoons of chia into your diet will help you to reach your calcium requirements. Sprinkle it on salads, on cooked vegetables, in cereal, make a chia pudding, use it to thicken batter, in veggie patties or simply stirred into a glass of water or fresh juice.

If you are finding it difficult to meet your calcium requirements, a good quality calcium supplement could assist you. Try this calcium-rich bliss ball recipe below:

Calcium-rich bliss ball recipe

Servings 3


  •  ½ cup dried figs
  • ¼ cup amaranth
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (extra for rolling)
  • 2 tbsp tahini/ almond butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • Pinch sea salt


  1. In a food processor, blend the figs, tahini/almond butter and coconut oil until well combined.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients until a ‘dough’ like mixture forms.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture at a time, rolling into balls and then coating in chia seeds.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
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