According to the United States Department of Agriculture, all adults need 1,000 mg of calcium each day; those over the age of 51 need 1,200, as do pregnant or nursing women. Postmenopausal women need 1,200 to 1,500 mg. In order to get that much calcium in her diet through foods rather than supplements, a woman will want to come up with a list of calcium-rich foods she likes and recipes that sound appealing.
By simply eating a cup of plain yogurt and a medium-sized fresh orange, a woman could satisfy nearly half of her calcium requirement in one day; yogurt provides 415 mg of calcium, while the orange offers 52 mg. Another option is one waffle, prepared with milk and an egg, along with one glass of milk. Certain brands of fortified orange juice can supply up to 35 percent of an adult’s calcium needs.
Because lunch needs to be a quick fix for most women, whether they are caring for their kids at home or busy out on the job, calories need to come from easily prepared sources. A single serving of canned salmon will provide about 250 mg of calcium; eating it as a sandwich on an English muffin adds another 96 mg. Another lunch possibility is a cup of cottage cheese, which has 155 mg, with a half-cup of dried fruit, such as apricots or pears — around 40 mg — and a whole-wheat dinner roll at 34.
An average-sized piece of cheese-rich vegetable lasagna provides 450 mg of calcium. Other combination dishes featuring cheese, such as cheese pizza or chicken enchiladas, will work as well. Creamed soups made with skim milk add calcium to the diet, as do certain bean soups; white beans provide 170 mg of calcium for one cup. Chopped green vegetables, such as collards, turnip greens, and spinach add an average of 300 mg for each cup. Using tofu, at 150 mg for just 3 oz, presents a variety of possibilities. And if you happen to be on the short list of people who love rhubarb, one cup provides a whopping 348 mg.
Certain energy bars can provide up to 50 percent of a woman’s daily calcium needs, although the amount of fat they contain may make them better suited to a meal substitute. A half-cup of frozen yogurt with 103 mg of calcium, a cup of pudding with 150 mg or a glass of low fat chocolate milk or hot cocoa at 273 mg can help add to the day’s calcium intake. Another option for something crunchy is a couple of ounces of almonds, which has 160 mg.