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Don't Like Milk? Consider These Other Simple Ways to Incorporate Calcium Into Your Diet

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Bones & Joints related image Photo: Getty Images

“I can’t stand milk. I have never enjoyed it and never will. I can’t stand the stuff! I don’t think I have even had one glass of the stuff my entire life.”

Are those the words of someone’s young child? Possibly, but they actually just recently rolled off the tongue of my 106-year-old grandma who, to this day, has yet to break a bone, despite never giving milk a chance in her life. How could that possibly be?

Much like my grandmother, I am not a big fan of milk either. In fact, as a kid, I would sit at the table after dinner for what seemed like hours until I drank my milk, as mandated by my mother. It took every bit of strength I had to consume those nauseating eight ounces. For whatever reason, I never did like the way it looked, tasted, or even felt in my mouth. Still, I must be my grandmother’s granddaughter, as I have healthy bones as well. I suppose we have learned the simple art of incorporating other foods into our diets over the years that made up for the calcium provided by milk.

If milk is not your drink of choice, but you are still concerned about getting enough calcium, there are many other ways to ensure your body gets the proper nutrition it deserves. Here are some great suggestions:
1--If you enjoy cottage cheese, stir in some whey, which is rich in calcium. If you want additional calcium, consider ricotta cheese, which has twice as much calcium per serving as cottage cheese.
2--When enjoying snacks or casseroles, use a high-calcium hard cheese instead of a softer, lower-calcium cheese as a topping. Did you know that Swiss cheese has over 250 mg of calcium per ounce, while mozzarella boasts only 150 to 200?
3--If you want to sweeten up a beverage or your cereal, or even homemade breads and cakes, then consider using blackstrap molasses. Just one tablespoon provides an astonishing 172 mg of calcium. Sure, you can opt for regular molasses, but it comes in at just 41 mg per tablespoon.
4--Switch to dairy products that are protein-fortified. These are made with extra milk solids and contain more calcium than their non-fortified counterparts. While regular cream cheese has 20 to 40 mg of calcium in each serving, a serving of protein-fortified nonfat cream cheese will deliver 100 mg of calcium. Grab some protein-fortified yogurt to reap the benefits of 400-450 mg of calcium per serving. Ordinary yogurt has far less, at 275-325 mg per serving.
5--When preparing soups and stews with meat or chicken, remove the bones after cooking instead of before. As your soups and stews simmer, a bit of calcium from the bones will leach out of the bones and enrich the broth. This effect is further enhanced if the dishes contain acidic items such as tomatoes, lemons, or vinegar.
6--When grilling, roasting, or broiling meat or chicken, use the cuts of meat that include the bone. Marinate the meat in wine, lemon juice, or vinegar and use the leftover liquid as a sauce or glaze, giving the meal a calcium-enriched extra.

Finally, if you are on-the-go as I usually am, grab a glass of calcium-enriched orange juice. While milk does do a body good, so do a lot of other calcium-fortified foods! Enjoy!

Source: "Strong Women, Strong Bones," by Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.