Friday, August 13, 2010

Fortifying Almond/Rice Milk with Calcium

I'm looking into making my own Almond Milk and Rice Milk to save a little bit of money.  My biggest concern in making my own is making sure that it has enough calcium for my children (or that I supplement calcium in other ways).  When making almond milk, I am going to use a soy milk maker, though you can also use a blender or VitaMix, you just need to strain the almond/rice pulp out before sweetening and drinking.  I'll let you know how it goes:)

For 6 cups of Almond Milk, I will use 1/2 c raw almonds + 1/4 c brown rice, soaked for 8 hours first.  I will then add 6 cups of water and process in my soy milk maker.  (If using a blender, blend until milky white and strain pulp.)  To sweeten I am going to add Raw Sugar and a little bit of vanilla, to taste.  I may also add a little bit of salt if I think that it needs it.  If you want to avoid any sugar, there are plenty of other options which I will discuss below.

Naturally Occurring Calcium Content in 1 c of Almond/Rice Milk:  38.08 mg of calcium

(1/2 c of almonds is roughly the same as 2.7 oz. (this is based off of the number of servings in my package of raw almonds).  This would make roughly 216 g of calcium in 6 cups.  The 1/4 c of brown rice will add 12.5 mg of calcium to the 6 cups of milk giving a total of 228.5 mg of calcium in 6 cups of almond/rice milk.)

Options for adding more calcium:

  • If you have calcium supplements (we have chewable), then you can add them to the rice/almond mixture before processing or blending them to add more calcium per cup (add as much as you need to compensate for lack of calcium, or to taste).

  • In trying to find the calcium content of certain items in g/mg, it is a little bit more difficult because many products label calcium as a percentage of the Daily Value rather than the exact mg.  Fortunately, I was able to find out what the recommended Daily Value for Calcium is (according to packages).  It is 1000 mg, so you can adjust your measurements based upon your needs.  Oat groats contain 20 mg per 1/4 c, so if you substitute oat groats for the brown rice (in the recipe above), then you will be able to add a little bit more natural calcium, though not much.  1 c almond/oat milk will give you 39.3 mg calcium.  Oat milk also has a really nice flavor, so I'm definitely going to experiment combining oats and almonds to see what results I can get.

(For more Daily Values, go here:

Options for sweetening almond/rice milk:

  • Although I haven't tried this, in looking at the chart below, I am very interested in trying to add dried figs and blending them into the almond/rice milk as they have 300 mg of calcium per cup.  I think it's worth trying to see if it sweetens it nicely.
  • Dried dates also are a great sweetener.  I would soak them in freshly made almond/rice milk (HOT) and then blend them together to form a smooth mixture.
  • Stevia and agave nectar are also other options for sweeteners.

If you have any good almond, rice, or oat milk recipes that you'd like to share, please feel free to comment below and add them:)  According to what I currently spend on Rice and Almond milk each month (I have 6 kids), making my own will save me well over $60 a month.  That's over $720 a year, and I will know exactly what is going into it, so no cross-contamination!  I'll post my results later:)


In doing my research, I ran across this chart that lists the calcium content of certain foods (obviously we have to leave out the dairy right now):

Calcium Content of Selected Foods
Dairy and SoyAmountCalcium (mg)
Milk (skim, low fat, whole)1 cup300
Buttermilk1 cup300
Cottage Cheese.5 cup65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk.5 cup100
Sour Cream, cultured1 cup250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified1 cup200 to 400
Yogurt1 cup450
Yogurt drink12 oz300
Carnation Instant Breakfast1 packet250
Hot Cocoa, calcium fortified1 packet320
Nonfat dry milk powder5 Tbsp300
Brie Cheese1 oz50
Hard Cheese (cheddar, jack)1 oz200
Mozzarella1 oz200
Parmesan Cheese1 Tbsp70
Swiss or Gruyere1 oz270
Acorn squash, cooked1 cup90
Arugula, raw1 cup125
Bok Choy, raw1 cup40
Broccoli, cooked1 cup180
Chard or Okra, cooked1 cup100
Chicory (curly endive), raw1 cup40
Collard greens1 cup50
Corn, brine packed1 cup10
Dandelion greens, raw1 cup80
Kale, raw1 cup55
Kelp or Kombe1 cup60
Mustard greens1 cup40
Spinach, cooked1 cup240
Turnip greens, raw1 cup80

Figs, dried, uncooked1 cup300
Kiwi, raw1 cup50
Orange juice, calcium fortified8 oz300
Orange juice, from concentrate1 cup20
Garbanzo Beans, cooked1 cup80
Legumes, general, cooked.5 cup15 to 50
Pinto Beans, cooked1 cup75
Soybeans, boiled.5 cup100
Temphe.5 cup75
Tofu, firm, calcium set4 oz250 to 750
Tofu, soft regular4 oz120 to 390
White Beans, cooked.5 cup70
Cereals (calcium fortified).5 to 1 cup250 to 1000
Amaranth, cooked.5 cup135
Bread, calcium fortified1 slice150 to 200
Brown rice, long grain, raw1 cup50
Oatmeal, instant1 package100 to 150
Tortillas, corn285
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, toasted unblanched1 oz80
Sesame seeds, whole roasted1 oz280
Sesame tahini1 oz (2 Tbsp)130
Sunflower seeds, dried1 oz50
Mackerel, canned3 oz250
Salmon, canned, with bones3 oz170 to 210
Sardines3 oz370
Molasses, blackstrap1 Tbsp135
* When range is given, calcium content varies by product.
* The calcium content of plant foods is varied. Most vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit contain some calcium. Listed are selected significant sources of well-absorbed calcium.
  • USDA database, Handbook 8 palm program
  • Bowes and Church

How Much Do You Need?
AgeCalcium (mg)
1 - 3 year old500 mg
4 - 8 year old800 mg
9 - 18 year old1300 mg
19 - 50 year old1000 mg
51 - 70 year old1200 mg
> 70 year old1200 mg

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

This website is also a great resource for nutrition information on fruits and vegetables!!!

For example, we're going to have butternut squash (from our garden:)) tonight.  I looked it up on the above website, and one cup of butternut squash has 84 mg of calcium in it!!!  In looking at all of our options, I feel confident that having enough calcium with a well balanced diet will not be a problem.

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