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Get vitamin D in your diet
Vitamin D is a tricky, but crucial, vitamin. It's a key nutrient for bone health, and it can help you steer clear of osteoporosis and bone thinning. However, it's hard to get in your diet.
If you sit in the sun for a few minutes each day, your body will make vitamin D, but that can be tough depending on where you live, the season, whether you're wearing sunscreen, and your natural skin pigment (darker skin needs more sun to make vitamin D).
You can get vitamin D in your diet, but few foods contain it naturally. Here are a few that can boost your intake.
Salmon is one of several fatty fish that contains vitamin D. Some types of salmon have more than others, but 3 ounces of sockeye salmon contains 450 international units (IU) of vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you use sockeye in this recipe, each serving will give you about 900 IU of the bone-protecting vitamin.
That puts you above the recommended daily intake (600 IU after age 1 and 800 IU after age 70), but still far below the upper safe limit (4,000 IU for everyone aged 9 or older).
Try this recipe: Maple-Glazed Salmon
Very Chocolate Milk Shake
Cow's milk is usually fortified with vitamin D, so one serving of this recipe will give you about 50 IU, as well as a good dose of calcium.
While ice cream is generally not fortified with vitamin D, you can find some brands of vitamin D–fortified frozen yogurt. Turkey Hill's Vanilla Bean frozen yogurt contains 80 IU per serving.
You can also substitute vitamin D–fortified soy products like Silk Original Soymilk, which has 120 IU of vitamin D per cup.
Try this recipe: Very Chocolate Milk Shake
Rich Mushroom Soup
This soup will provide you with vitamin D only if you buy specially grown mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Like humans, mushrooms will produce vitamin D when hit by UV rays, which is why vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin.
This recipe provides about 325 IU of vitamin D per serving if you use Dole's vitamin D–containing portobello mushrooms in place of the sliced shiitake caps.
Try this recipe: Rich Mushroom Soup
Scrambled Egg Burritos
To get vitamin D from an egg, you have to eat its yolk. Each egg yolk provides about 40 IU of vitamin D, about 7% of the recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU.
Although eggs don't have that much vitamin D, every bit helps. If you opt for a vitamin D–fortified cereal, instead of eggs, for breakfast, you get roughly 40 IU of vitamin D (100 if you add half a cup of fortified milk).
Try this recipe: Scrambled Egg Burritos
Vanilla Bean Pudding
This pudding calls for 2.5 cups of milk, as well as two large egg yolks. It will give you about 55 IU of vitamin D per serving.
Added bonus: It's simple to make and contains very little sodium.
Try this recipe: Vanilla Bean Pudding
Yogurt Berry Cups
Parfaits like these yogurt berry cups are easy to prepare and delicious to eat.
Just make sure you use vitamin D–fortified yogurt when putting them together. You can also use Greek yogurt, as long as the label says it's fortified. Chobani's Champions Greek yogurt (aimed at children) contains 80 IU in each 3.5-ounce serving.
Try this recipe: Yogurt Berry Cups
Red Grape and Tuna Salad Pita
Canned tuna is easy to store and has a long shelf life, so it's no surprise that it ranks pretty high in convenience as a natural vitamin D source. To get more vitamin D, use canned light tuna rather than albacore, which is sometimes called canned white tuna.
This recipe serves one person, so you will get about 150 IU of vitamin D from its 3 ounces of tuna.
Try this recipe: Red Grape and Tuna Salad Pita
Citrus Drop Cocktail
You can get a wee bit of vitamin D at cocktail hour, too. Use fortified orange juice, which delivers close to 25 IU of vitamin D in each drink.
Turn it into a virgin beverage by replacing the vodka and prosecco with a citrus-flavored sparkling wateryou'll also cut most of the calories.
Try this recipe: Citrus Drop Cocktail
Sicilian Tuna and White Bean Bruschetta
This bruschetta is easy to prepare, while still serving up vitamin D. Substitute canned light tuna to maximize its vitamin D potential.
If you use the recommended 7 ounces of tuna, this dish will pack about 60 IU of vitamin D per serving.
Try this recipe: Sicilian Tuna and White Bean Bruschetta