Calcium is one of the essential minerals required by the body to function properly. As the body stores calcium in bones, its deficiency can lead to fragile and brittle bones, increasing the risk for fractures and other bone-related ailments. Calcium also helps in maintaining healthy teeth.
An average adult requires 1500 mg of calcium per day. A diet rich in both dairy and non-dairy calcium-rich foods will help achieve the daily calcium requirements. Some of the excellent sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and non-dairy sources such as legumes, seeds, dry fruit, seafood and fortified products.
Here’s a simple calcium-rich meal plan including many popular sources such as,
Mozzarella Cheese – There are plenty of cheese varieties which are high in calcium, especially mozzarella which has 731 mg per 100 grams. It works great as tasty accompaniments and snacks.
Red Lentils – Red lentils are one of the important sources of calcium as 100 grams have 19 mg of this valuable mineral. These lentils cook quickly.
Lady’s Finger – Okra is rich in calcium. 100 grams of okra contains 82 mg of calcium. This humble vegetable can make stews, gravy and fries.
Pear – Pears are one of the healthiest fruits. It has plenty of nutrients including calcium; 100 grams of pear contains 9 mg of this nutrient.
Buttermilk– Buttermilk is a great thirst quencher. 100 grams of butter milk has 116 mg of calcium. It is a fermented drink that keeps us hydrated and energetic for longer hours.
Guava – Guava is a cheapest source of calcium as it is a very popular tropical fruit. 100 grams of Guava contains 18 mg of calcium. Enjoy a few slices of Guava fruit after your meal.
Milk– Milk is the best source of calcium as it has 125 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Drinking a cup of whole milk will give you better calcium than skimmed milk.
Wheat Vermicelli– Wheat vermicelli is rich in calcium as it has 34 mg of this mineral per 100 grams. It is a staple breakfast option for satiating your hunger in the morning hours.
Almonds – These are a superfood, loaded with plenty of nutrients including calcium. 100 grams of almonds contain 264 mg of calcium. You can add them to your salad or munch on it as a snack.
Calcium-Rich Meal Plan
Vegetables– jalapeno, onion, tomato, lady’s finger, green chilies, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves, carrot and green peas
Diary– mozzarella cheese, butter, yogurt
Staples– red lentils, rice, wheat vermicelli
Readymade– bread and pear juice
Spices– mixed herbs, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, idly chili powder, desiccated coconut, salt, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafetida
Calcium-Rich Breakfast: Cheese Chili Toast with Pear Juice
Cheese Chili Toast
2 bread slices
Half cup grated mozzarella cheese
One big jalapeno sliced
Half teaspoon mixed herbs
1 teaspoon butter
Spread butter on the bread slices, add grated cheese, jalapeno slices, mixed herbs and gently toast them in a pan. Serve with pear juice (store-bought).
Calcium-rich Lunch: Red Lentils Curry with Stuffed Okra and Buttermilk
Red Lentils Curry
Half cup red lentils washed
1 onion and tomato sliced
3 green chilies,
1 tsp mustard and cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric and chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Half teaspoon asafetida
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 tsp ghee
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, green chili, garlic, tomato and onion. Add the spice powders, washed lentils and pressure cook for 3 whistles adding no salt. Mash the lentils and add salt before you serve them.
1 cup okra slit in the middle,
One teaspoon chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and idly chili powder or gunpowder
2 tsp desiccated coconut
One and half teaspoon salt
3 tsp oil,
Mix the spice powders, desiccated coconut and salt into a mixture. Stuff the slit okra with this mixture and shallow fry in a pan.
Half cup thick yoghurt
Three glasses of water
Half inch Ginger 1 green chili
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander and curry leaves chopped
Salt as required
Blend the spices with yoghurt in a blender. Add water to make it into buttermilk.
Guava fruit for snack
Calcium-rich Dinner: Wheat Vegetable Vermicelli with Almond Milk
Wheat Vegetable Vermicelli
1 cup wheat vermicelli
1 cup of mixed vegetables such as carrot and green peas
One and half teaspoon salt
3 green chilies sliced
Half inch Ginger chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds and cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
2 tsp oil
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, Ginger, green chilies and onion. Fry for a minute, add vegetables and cook them until done. Add salt and wheat vermicelli and gently fry for 2 minutes. Pour 1 cup of water and cook the vermicelli until done.
Tip: If you feel that wheat vermicelli sticks a lot in the pan, you can soak them in hot water for a few minutes and steam them for 10 minutes. Add the steamed vermicelli to the vegetable mixture and gently mix them.