What can I eat and drink to help me get enough calcium during pregnancy?
You’re on the right track by looking for calcium-rich foods. Calcium is an important building block for baby’s bones and teeth. It’s also key for your bone health, since not getting enough calcium during pregnancy can up your risk for osteoporosis later in life. Aim for 1,200 milligrams each day -- that’s about four servings of calcium-rich foods. Here are a few good choices.
Milk. A serving of skim or lowfat milk is an 8-ounce glass. All dairy products have vitamin D (for better calcium absorption) and are good sources of protein.
Lowfat cheese. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk are off limits in pregnancy, so go for 1 ½ ounces of hard cheeses such as cheddar or Swiss, or 1/3-cup shredded cheese. Or, if you love soft cheese, just make sure the label says it’s pasteurized before you indulge.
Lowfat yogurt. An 8-oz. cup of plain yogurt contains 452 milligrams of calcium. Also good to know: Regular yogurt has more calcium compared to Greek yogurt. Check the label to ensure the yogurt contains live cultures -- the “good” bacteria help promote a healthy gut.
Collard greens, and other dark leafy greens. One cup cooked collard greens (that’s one serving) has the same amount of calcium as 8 oz. of milk. It’s also rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and K.
Canned sardines. A 3-ounce can, depending on the brand, can give you up to 38 percent of your daily value of calcium. Don’t like sardines? Canned salmon (with bones) also contains a healthy portion of calcium.
Calcium-fortified drinks, such as soymilk and orange juice. These are great option if you’re lactose intolerant or you don’t consume dairy for any other reason. Six ounces of juice has about 300 milligrams of calcium, but check the labels of non-dairy milk, since they vary widely.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Nutrition During Pregnancy
10 Pregnancy Foods to Eat for Baby
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy