By Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis, MS, RD, CDN

CalciumDo you know where calcium is stored?

99 % of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth! Can our body make calcium? The answer is no. That’s why it is so important that we get enough calcium in our diet to aid with bone mass and help with muscle and nerve function. If we don’t consume 1000-1200 mg daily, our body may take calcium from our bones, which could lead to osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also needed in adequate amounts in the diet to help aide in calcium absorption. Make sure if your calcium supplement has at least 400 IU of Vitamin D.

How can we boost the calcium in our diets?

*Add low fat cheese to soups, salads and melt over vegetables
*Add beans to soup and salads
*Make a protein shake with 6-8 ounces of Greek Yogurt
*Use plain yogurt for a dip with raw vegetables
*Add almonds into yogurt or cottage cheese
*Add almond butter to whole wheat crackers
*Make salmon burgers (eat the tiny bones)
*Crunch on broccoli and dip in hummus
*When a recipe calls for sour cream, substitute with low fat plain yogurt
*Make sugar free pudding and add calcium fortified skim milk for dessert
*Add spinach to omelets
*Don’t forget to take your calcium supplements with vitamin D
*Add no-sugar added instant Carnation breakfast to skim milk
* Use tofu as your protein source – just make sure it’s “calcium fortified”

Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 15 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management.