Non Dairy Calcium Sources
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How to get enough calcium if you have a dairy allergy or don’t consume milk

sliced hardboiled eggs, a salmon filet and steamed broccoli on a white plate

As a Registered Dietitian, I have noticed that many of my clients, and more specifically my Asian clients, avoid milk products as they have a lactose intolerance or just didn’t grow up eating many dairy foods.  In fact, lactose intolerance occurs more often in people of Asian, African, South American, and indigenous peoples than among people of European descent.   


Many of my clients ask if they should take a calcium supplement. As a Dietitian who believes foremost in whole foods rather than supplements, I ask them to first consider revising their diets to get the needed calcium and other vitamins and minerals for healthy bones from calcium-rich foods.  



Non dairy Calcium Sources


  • Broccoli, Okra, and dark, green leafy vegetables including Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli), Choi Sum, kale, collards, and turnip greens. 
  • Fish canned with bones (examples: sardines and salmon). 
  • Calcium-fortified soy products such as soy beverage and tofu (look for extra firm or pressed tofu that contains more calcium) 
  • Black sesame seeds, chia seeds, tahini 
  • Calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages such as oat, almond and coconut beverage 
  • Calcium-fortified juices 
  • Almonds 


a wooden bowl of cubed tofu and a cutting board with leafy greens on it  


Looking for a delicious recipe that is high in protein and non dairy calcium?  These Salmon Quinoa Patties are a favorite dinner option in my family.  It’s from the cookbook Dietitians at Home that I co-authored. I often make a batch for a quick and easy meal solution. Cook once and eat at least twice! 


Salmon Quinoa Patties


Salmon Quinoa Patties arranged around a bowl of yogurt dip

Recipe and Photo credit: Jo Jo Wang, RD


Try this tasty recipe that is a good option when you are looking for non-dairy sources of calcium 

What you Need  


1⁄3 cup quinoa, uncooked
2⁄3 cup water
1 can (170 g) pink salmon
1 scallion, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 large eggs
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 tsp vegetable oil

How to Prepare Salmon Quinoa Patties   


  • Rinse quinoa under running water and drain well.  Bring quinoa and water to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Cover with a lid, turn heat to low, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until water is fully absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and let cool.  
  • Drain salmon and lightly mashed with a fork in a bowl. Add cooked quinoa, scallion, cilantro, ginger, lime juice, eggs, sea salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Mix until well blended. Divide salmon mixture into 8 equal portions and form each into 1/2-inch-thick patty.  
  • Warm oil in a flat-bottomed pan over low heat and place patties in a pan. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Flip patties, then cover and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until cooked thoroughly and golden brown.  
  • Repeat step3 until all patties are cooked.  Serve warm with yogurt dressing (on page 127).  


Yogurt Dressing


What You Need

1⁄2 cup plain yogurt 
1⁄4 cup cilantro, finely chopped 
2 Tbsp lime juice 
1 tsp maple syrup 
Pinch of sea salt 
1⁄4 tsp chili powder (optional) 


salmon quinoa patties pinterst image
How to Prepare:  


  • Combine all ingredients and serve with salmon quinoa patties 



Looking for more information on getting enough calcium from non-dairy foods or choosing a calcium supplement?


Check out these previous articles on our blog for more information:



Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

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