You can find loads of calcium in plant foods! Kale is one of the best sources—one cooked cup packs 177 mg of calcium, while one raw cup delivers 53 mg. It’s even more bioavailable than the calcium in milk, meaning that your body has an easier time absorbing it, says Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., distinguished professor of research at San Diego State University.
Not all greens are created equal, though. Oxalic acid—prevalent in plants like spinach, chard, and beet greens—binds to calcium, which can mess with your body’s ability to absorb it properly. Even though spinach technically has a lot of calcium, it’s only a tenth as bioavailable as that from milk because of the oxalic acid. “So it’s a terrible source of calcium,” says Dr. Weaver.
Try it: You don’t need to fill up on salads to enjoy kale. This garlic shrimp and kale stir-fry is an easy and flavorful way to sneak the dark leafy green in with some lean protein and satisfying carbs.
It’s no secret that dairy products are a great source of calcium: Take plain, low-fat yogurt for example. The average serving size of 8 ounces (or 1 cup) has a whopping 448 mg of calcium. On top of that, you’ll get more than 10 grams of protein and roughly 4 grams of good-for-you fats, which will help keep you full until your next meal. Throw some berries on top for added sweetness, antioxidants, and fiber.
Try it: Check out these smoothie recipes to turn your yogurt into a filling veggie- or fruit-packed breakfast.