I am vegan, so I do not eat dairy. What foods can I eat that are included as part of the Dairy Group?
Fortified soy-based dairy alternatives like soy milk and soy yogurt, which have added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, are included as part of the Dairy Group because they are nutritionally similar to their dairy-based counterparts.
Other plant-based milk alternatives such as hemp, cashew, almond, oat, rice, or coconut may be calcium-fortified, but are not included as part of the Dairy Group because their nutrition profile is not like dairy milk or fortified soy milk.
If you are looking for additional sources of calcium that are not included in the Dairy Group, consider calcium-fortified juices, tofu made with calcium sulfate, tahini, and some leafy greens, such as collard and turnip greens, spinach, kale, and bok choy which all provide some calcium. It should be noted that the amount of calcium that you can absorb from these foods does vary.
Are beans, such as kidney beans, in the Vegetable Group or Protein Foods Group? How do I count them?
Beans, peas, and lentils are unique foods because they belong to two food groups. They are part of the Protein Foods Group, and part of the Vegetable Group.
People who regularly eat meat, poultry, and seafood generally count beans, peas, and lentils in the Vegetable Group. People who do not eat meat or seldom eat meat, poultry, or seafood count some of the beans, peas, and lentils they eat in the Protein Foods Group. Visit www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/protein-foods/beans-and-peas for an example of how you can count beans, peas, and lentils.