Nutrition · Pregnancy

Can I get enough Calcium if I don’t drink milk?

Selection of food that is rich in calcium

With the update of Canada’s Food Guide earlier this year, there may be some confusion as to the importance of calcium, especially during pregnancy. Calcium-rich foods help to build strong bones and teeth, healthy muscles and maintain normal blood pressure – all of which is important for your growing baby.

Pregnant women over 19 years old need 1000 mg/day of calcium from food or supplements.

It might surprise you to know that the amount of calcium recommended for women does not actually increase in pregnancy. Your body is able to absorb more calcium from food during pregnancy to meet you and your baby’s needs.

Many people ask me how they can get enough calcium in pregnancy if they don’t drink milk. Sometimes they are lactose intolerant, occasionally they have a milk allergy or often they just don’t like the taste of milk. Some people also find that their ability to digest dairy products or their desire to eat/drink them changes in pregnancy.

Instead of milk or milk products, you can choose calcium fortified beverages such as:

  • soy milk
  • orange juice
  • almond milk
  • rice milk

These non-dairy choices often have the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk.

Other foods that have calcium are:

tofu beans okra
bok choy kale broccoli
fish with bones sesame seeds almonds

For more info, connect with:

  • Toronto Public Health via eChat or call 416-338-7600
  • Telehealth to speak with a Registered Dietitian 1-866-797-0000

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