Vegetarians who avoid consuming dairy products may find it harder than vegetarians who eat dairy to get enough calcium, but it is not impossible. A variety of foods can provide vegetarians with significant sources of calcium. When eating calcium-rich foods it is also important to consider the amount of vitamin D you are getting from specific foods or sun exposure. TeensHealth.org reports that vitamin D is necessary for your body to absorb the calcium you consume.
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Vegetarians can get the calcium they need from milk. Depending on the type of vegetarian you are different sources of milk will be appropriate. Vegetarians who consume dairy products can drink and use cow-based milk to provide them with a rich source of calcium. If you are a vegetarian who does not eat dairy products you can get your calcium from soy milk, rice milk or almond milk. Many of these alternative milks come fortified with additional calcium and vitamin D.
Tofu is made from soybeans and is generally used as a significant source of protein for vegetarians. Tofu is flavorless in its natural form and it will take on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. According to Vegetarian Times, a half a cup of tofu contains vitamin D and 100 mg of calcium. Tofu that has been enriched with calcium contains up to 350 mg, which provides you with a third of the amount of calcium you need in your day.
Tofu can be used in a variety of ways--it can be substituted for meat products in meals and dishes, baked into breads and baked goods or used to make smoothies and sauces.
Almonds are considered a healthy snack because they have heart healthy benefits and they provide significant amounts of protein. Almonds also provide a quality source of calcium. Vegetarian Times reports that every half cup of almonds contains about 175 mg of calcium. Almonds can be added to meals or can be eaten by themselves as a snack to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
There are some dark green leafy vegetables that can provide you with a significant source of calcium. Calcium-rich vegetables include kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, bok choy and mustard greens, notes Keeping Kids Healthy website.
Eating dark green leafy vegetables is important to your overall health and they should be consumed for their calcium and the high fiber content as well as other nutrients.
There are a number of cereals that have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D. When choosing cereals it is important to read the ingredients because some cereals contain products that are not suitable for vegetarians and excessive sugar. One ingredient to look out for is gelatin, which is a binding product derived from the byproducts of animals.
Cheese can provide you with an excellence source of protein, but you must choose your cheese wisely because not all cheeses are vegetarian. Non-vegetarian cheeses contain a product called rennet, which is derived from the stomach lining of cows. Cheeses are not required to state whether they are vegetarian, but some products do so voluntarily.