Vegan or not, we all need to put effort into making sure we get enough calcium in our diets. According to Jack Norris, RD and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD–the super smart and awesome authors of Vegan for Life, a very helpful book that I just finished reading and wholeheartedly recommend to anyone trying to eat mostly plants—“if you’re eating a varied diet that includes several different types of calcium sources, including leafy greens and soy products, you don’t need to worry that some of the calcium from other foods is absorbed less efficiently” and “using fortified foods like juices and nondairy milks can make it easier to meet calcium recommendations on a vegan diet.” The authors note that “when calcium-sulfate is used, tofu is often an excellent source of calcium.”
Norris and Messina also suggest keeping a mixture of almonds, soy nuts and chopped figs on hand for snacks. Based on their analysis of calcium content in the ingredients, if you eat 2 tablespoons of each ingredient in the following trail mix (about 1/3 cup total) you’ll get about 84 milligrams of dietary calcium! (Incidentally, each of the following ingredients has a roughly equivalent calcium content by volume, so you also don’t have to stress about getting the same ratio of ingredients in each of your servings, if you mix up the trail mix ahead of time.) I think that choosing tamari almonds creates a nice flavor contrast with the figs, but you can use whatever type of almond you like. Choose figs without added sugar. Store in a sealed container!!! The almonds will lose a bit of their crunch, but it’s not bad. However, if that bothers you, maybe keep them separate till you’re ready to eat them.
A final note–the following ratio should be used when mixing up any kind of trail mix: 2 parts nuts to 1 part dried fruit. Martha Stewart taught me that.
High-Calcium Trail Mix
Time commitment: 10 minutes
Makes: about 9 1/3 cup servings (3 cups total)
- 1 cup toasted, unsalted soy nuts
- 1 cup tamari roasted almonds (or any kind of roasted almonds, but I like the flavor of tamari)
- 1 cup chopped, dry figs (stems removed)
- Chop figs. Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Store in a big sealed container, or 9 small ones (Ziplock bags, etc.). Keeps for a couple of weeks in sealed containers. I like to divide between wax bags and then keep all the small portions in a larger sealed Ziplock bag.