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NAP Challenge #10: Take on the Calcium Balance Challenge

Man and Woman Making Fruit Smoothie

Meet the “Calcium Balance” challenge with AICR NAP Smoothies

Combine in blender your favorite yogurt, fruits, veggies, nut and seeds.

AICR NAP Smoothie Recipe

6 ounces or 3/4 cup non-fat or low fat yogurt, plain or vanilla, fruit flavored (low sugar)

1/2 cup frozen fruit (berries, peaches, strawberries, mixed fruit…)

1/2 cup fresh fruit (apple, banana, oranges, pineapple…)

Ice cubes made with green or mint tea, carrot juice, water, 100% fruit juice – use amount for desired thickness

Add Ons: carrots, spinach, greens, parsley, wheat germ, almonds and other nuts, seeds, cinnamon

This week I will eat or drink three servings daily of calcium rich foods.

Background:

This week’s challenge features Calcium Balance. Why is calcium balance pertinent to the New American Plate Challenge? For prevention of osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes as well as optimal nutrition while losing weight. One important part of your New American Plate… and your New American Plate cereal bowls, glasses, and mugs is calcium-rich foods.

The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine recently updated recommendations for calcium for bone health. The amount of calcium recommended is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day for adults ages 19-50 years and increases to 1,200 mg per day for adults over age 51. According the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, calcium is considered a “nutrient of concern” because most of us do not consume adequate calcium. Most Americans are at risk for osteoporosis because of having low bone mass due to inadequate calcium intake.

Adequate calcium intake from diet and supplements also is associated with lower incidence of colorectal cancer; yet, too much calcium from diet and supplements is associated with increased risk for prostate cancer. Thus, “calcium balance” is necessary for bone health and cancer prevention. AICR advises consuming no more than 1500 mg of calcium from diet and supplements daily. The recommended 1000 – 1200 mg calcium translates to consuming 2 1/2 to 3 servings of dairy foods daily as part of a balanced diet. It’s critical to eat a healthy diet including calcium-rich foods even when trying to lose weight to protect your bones and prevent cancer.

With the mostly plant-based eating style of the New American Plate, you can achieve calcium balance. While two-thirds or more of your plate (… and cereal bowl… and glass… and mug…) is plant based, the remaining one-third or less is animal protein based and that includes dairy products. You get concentrated calcium, in a well-absorbed form, from non-fat and low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.

You also can choose some high calcium plant-based foods such as collard greens, tofu, edamame, and calcium and vitamin D fortified soymilk. Sardines are also high in calcium. Calcium fortified cereals, breads and 100% fruit juices are good choices too. Striking your calcium balance with a combination of calcium-rich dairy and plant-based foods is easy. Look at the suggestions below for meal and snack ideas.

If you don’t consume dairy products or enough calcium and vitamin D fortified soymilk or other milk alternative beverages and calcium fortified foods such as cereals, breads and juices, calcium supplementation may be advised. Again, do not exceed 1500 mg daily of dietary and supplemental calcium.

Time to take on the Calcium Balance Challenge!

Amount of Non-Dairy Calcium Sources with Calcium Equivalent to 1 Cup Milk
and Amount of Selected Other Nutrients in that Amount
Calcium Alternative Amount Energy kcalProtein gCalcium mg Magnesium mg Potassium mg Vitamin A, μg RAE Vitamin D, IU

Milk Group Profile

1 cup eq.

80

8.50

297

20

227

96

58

Soymilk, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

1 cup

80

6.95

301

39

292

134

119

Soymilk, chocolate, light, fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

1 cup

114

5.10

299

36

350

148

114

Rice Drink, unsweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

1 cup

113

0.67

283

26

65

151

101

Tofu, raw, regular, prepared with calcium sulfate

~1/3 cup

65

6.87

298

26

103

3

0

Tofu, soft "silken", prepared with calcium chloride

>2 lbs

533

46.51

300

281

1744

0

0

Tofu, extra firm, prepared with nigari (MgCl)

~2/3 cup

156

16.91

299

91

226

0

0

Tofu, firm, prepared with nigari (MgCl) and calcium sulfate

~5/8 cup

105

12.29

302

56

222

0

0

Orange Juice, fortified with calcium and vitamin D

0.6 cup

70

1.02

300

16

266

3

82

Collards, frozen

~7/8 cup

51

4.25

300

43

359

822

0

Spinach, frozen

1 cup

65

7.62

291

156

574

1146

0

Kale, frozen

1‐2/3 cup

65

6.17

300

39

697

1596

0

Broccoli, frozen

5 cup

258

28.52

304

120

1306

469

0

Soybeans, green

1.1 cup

279

24.45

287

119

1067

16

0

White beans, canned

1.6 cup

478

30.43

306

214

1903

0

0

Almonds, dry roasted

4 oz

677

25.05

302

324

846

0

0

Sardines, canned, w/bone

2.8 oz

165

19.54

303

31

315

25

153

Salmon, canned, w/bone

3.8 oz

147

24.93

299

37

336

25

503

Data Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22.
Table (from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, www.dietaryguidelines.gov)

Steps and Tips:

Achieving calcium balance of
1000-1200 mg daily is easy;
let’s say we eat:
Breakfast: 1 cup skim milk
= 300 mg
Lunch: 1 1/2 oz Swiss cheese
= 336 mg
Afternoon snack: 6 oz low-fat fruit yogurt
= 254 mg
Dinner: 3/4 cup cooked kale
= 150 mg
Miscellaneous: in other foods
= ~200 mg
Total Estimate:
= 1240 mg

 

  • Estimate your calcium intake one day this week. Go to www.mypyramid.gov
  • Read labels to select milk alternative beverages like soy, rice or almond milk that are calcium and vitamins D and A fortified
  • Choose non-fat or low-fat lattes and cappuccinos
  • If lactose intolerant, try drinking no more than 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat milk at a time. Try low-lactose or lactose-free milk, yogurt and cheeses and calcium and vitamin D and A fortified soymilk or other fortified milk alternative beverages
  • Choose non-fat and low-fat yogurts with minimal added sugar. Look for active cultures for probiotic advantage
  • Get Greek-style yogurts for a heartier snack, these are often lower in sugar and richer in protein, keeping you satiated longer. Calcium content may be less than regular yogurt, yet it still provides calcium
  • Substitute some non-fat or low-fat yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise in dips, sauces and casseroles
  • Buy hard cheeses made with reduced fat milk more often and cheeses made with whole milk less often. The 1 1/2-ounce portion size fits nicely into the 2/3 – 1/3 rule. Eat in smaller amounts shaved or grated whole milk aged cheeses like Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago
  • Top soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and vegetables with reduced fat cheeses. Use low-fat ricotta, cottage cheese, shredded mozzarella and assorted cheeses in dishes
  • Dress baked sweet potatoes and other potatoes with non-fat or low-fat yogurt and cheeses
  • Make, buy or order pizza with low-fat cheeses preferably on whole-wheat crust with lots of veggies. Let vendors know that’s what you would like them to offer!
  • Buy tofu processed with calcium sulfate for higher calcium content

Ideas for dairy foods and calcium rich foods and portion sizes:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup skim or 1% milk with cereal, 1 cup hot cocoa, 1 cup non-fat or low-fat yogurt with whole grain granola and mixed fruit, 1 1/2 ounce of reduced fat cheese with sliced fruit and whole grain bagel, 1/2 cup fortified orange juice, 1 cup fortified cereal; make oatmeal with skim or 1% milk, not water; make whole wheat pancakes and muffins with fat-free buttermilk; AICR NAP Smoothie.
  • Lunch: 1 1/2 oz reduced fat cheese preferably more often in sandwiches or entrée salad, 1/2 cup tofu in vegetable salad medley, 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese preferably, 1 cup non-fat or low-fat yogurt, 1 cup skim or non-fat milk, 1 cup nonfat or low-fat pudding, 1/2 - 1 cup cooked kale and white beans in soup.
  • Dinner: 1 1/2 ounce reduced fat cheese in pizza or pasta dishes, 1/2 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup tofu vegetable stir fry, 1/2 cup non-fat or reduced fat cottage cheese, 1 cup skim or 1% milk, 1 cup non-fat or low-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup or more calcium rich vegetables.
  • Snacks: 1 cup skim or 1% milk or soy milk latte, cappuccino or chai latte, 1 cup hot cocoa, 1 cup non-fat or low-fat yogurt with whole grain flake or granola cereal and dried or fresh fruit, 1 1/2 ounce reduced fat cheese, 1/2 cup edamame, AICR NAP Smoothie.
  • Desserts: puddings, parfaits made with skim or 1% milk and topped with lots of fruit, ice milk or non-fat or low-fat frozen yogurt.
  • Remember:
    • When eating out, try to include calcium rich foods – cheese and tofu from salad bar, 1 1/2 ounces cheese on sandwich, veggie and/or grain salads with tofu and cheese.
    • Reward yourself with non-food treats when feeling like a "pick-me-up" or when meeting your steps or minutes activity goal or for losing weight. For example, instead of a coffee shop beverage treat, grab your water bottle and take a walk in the park or read a magazine standing up, buy and plant some new annuals or container pot herbs.
    • For osteoporosis prevention, in addition to adequate calcium intake make sure to enjoy weight bearing physical activities such as walking, hiking, running, dancing, and playing sports like tennis. Another reason to stay moderately to vigorously active daily!

Further Information:

Published on June 12, 2012

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