Top Plant Based Sources of Vitamin D

Does Milk actually give you strong bones?? All of the research I have done has proven otherwise. Plus, who has ever felt energized and light after drinking a glass of Whole/2% milk? It would take 1.5 quarts of cows milk to even meet the daily RDA for Vitamin D. I certainly do not know anyone who drinks that much milk in a day and one would assume that would be pretty detrimental for overall health. So Vitamin D deficiency is not a “vegan issue”, but rather any everybody issue. Especially so in today’s society where people do not get outside as much as they should.

The best way to ensure you are receiving enough Vitamin D is to get outside in the sunshine for at least 15 minutes a day. That seems easy enough doesn’t it? Maybe not so much for people living in colder climates that don’t always get outside (especially in the winter months!). We as humans do not get outside as much as we used to, which has lead many people to be deficient in Vitamin D. While you definitely can take a supplement to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D, I want to provide you with some options on how to get it through food.


Vitamin D can be found in a wide variety of foods, especially dark leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet does not mean you will be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. If you do it right, it will actually be quite the opposite for you.

One of my goals with my blog is to share information that I have gathered over the years that has lead me to optimal health. I have had a lot of trial and error over the years and have learned how to truly treat my  body with kindness and love, and how to give it the foods that it needs. If you are just starting out on your vegan journey, or just starting to get healthy, it is really important to learn about the nutritional benefits of different foods.

This post was inspired by the fact that here in good old Milwaukee, I had not seen the sun in over a week. It was seriously gloomy and drab here. This got me to thinking, should I be supplementing with a Vitamin D pill since the sun has been hiding this winter?? I know that I am able to get in a wide range of nutrients every day by eating an abundant plant based diet, but I wanted to be sure that I was giving my body everything it needed. So, I did some additional research and want to share it with you all!

In this post I am going to be breaking down the top plant-based sources of Vitamin D, and including some ideas of how you can incorporate more of these foods into your diet. There is a time and a place for supplementation, but it may not be needed if you know how to feed and fuel your body (and get outside!).

The best way to ensure you are meeting your recommended daily Vitamin D levels is to spend time outside in the direct sunlight, but that can be difficult for those of use that live in climates where the sun is not always out. Here are some of the best sources of plant-based sources of Vitamin D to fill your grocery cart up with!

The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU for people aged 1-70.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms exposed to light provide a good source of vitamin D. One cup of portabella mushrooms contains around 635 IU of Vitamin D.

Fortified Orange Juice

One cup of fortified orange juice provides about 100 IU of Vitamin D. Every brand is different so be sure to check the label to see how much Vitamin D you will be getting with one cup of orange juice.

Tofu

Most brands of Tofu contain around 20% of your RDA of Vitamin D per serving. One fifth of a block of fortified tofu has around 120 IU of Vitamin D.

Soy Milk

One glass of soy milk has around 120 IU of Vitamin D. Again, be sure to read your labels to make sure that you are purchasing brands that are fortified with Vitamin D.

Fortified Cereals & Oatmeal

Different brands of cereal and oatmeal are fortified with Vitamin D. Most contain anywhere from 55-155 IU of Vitamin D per serving. Make sure to read those labels!

 

Fortified Plant Based Milks

Many (but not all) brans of plant based milks fortify their products with Vitamin D. That is a major bonus for anyone who chooses to consume these products since they are a delicious way to add more vitamin D to their diet. You can add plant milks to smoothies, oatmeal, tea, coffee, or enjoy it on its own. Check out FlaxMilk! I have been loving it, and it has 25% of your daily Vitamin D in one 8 oz glass!

 

How do you make sure you get your RDA of Vitamin D? Do you supplement, get outside, or eat Vitamin D rich foods??

27 comments on “Top Plant Based Sources of Vitamin D”

  1. I try to get outside each day for the Vitamin D, and also take a supplement because in the Northeast I tend to come up deficient fairly often in the winter months. Great post on some plant based sources to consider!

    1. It can be so hard for those of us that live in colder climates- even if we get outside, there is no guarantee the sun will be out! Supplementing can be very beneficial 🙂

  2. Vitamin D is so important, especially this time of year. Great roundup of natural sources!

    1. Yes- I agree Emily! hopefully more sunshine is headed our way 🙂

  3. This is a great list! Yet another example of how plants are full of good stuff!! 🙂 haha

    1. Yes!! Plants have everything we need 🙂

  4. GiGi Eats says:

    I LOVEEEEE ME SOME VITAMIN D! Seriously. I have LOTS of it in my body —- I know this because my docs think it’s WAY too high, but there is no such thing in my mind! 😉

    1. Girl yes- how could that even be possible?? You must get a lot of sunshine!

  5. abbey sharp says:

    I love this!! Especially living in Canada, it’s so hard to get enough Vitamin D!!

    1. Any climate that isn’t super sunny can make it a challenge to get enough vitamin D- i can’t wait until we have more sunshine here!

  6. I do try to get outside and enjoy the sunshine when I can. I agree that we can get plenty of Vitamin D as vegetarians.

    1. I love to get my vitamin D from the sunshine as well, but in the dead of winter, I think a little food boost can be great 🙂

  7. Sarah says:

    So many options! Some of which I can’t have but still trying to get in as much as I can even before a plantbased lifestyle I had issues with my feritin and Vitamin D, especially in the Midwest winters so I also take supplements.

    1. I think it can definitely be difficult for us midwest folks! Sometimes supplementation is needed and really helps!

  8. I take a multivitamin…but I seriously need summer to come back because I prefer to soak it up outside!

    1. I am right there with you Tara! Nothing better than the warm sunshine in the summer months 🙂

  9. Chrissy says:

    Yup, Wisconsin can be brutal in the winter. I haven’t been outside much the last week either. This list is good to know. Glad to see I’m eating some of them on the list.

    1. Wisconsin definitely needs to get its act together when it comes to sunshine! Happy you are eating these foods Chrissy 🙂

  10. i definitely can up my vitamin D intake..im so glad you mentioned all the food sources of vitamin D besides taking supplements.

  11. Mikki says:

    What a great post! When I lived in MD, I suffered from seasonal depression. It was so hard to keep my Vitamin D up in the cold winter months. I wasn’t eating a healthy diet like I am either. This is a great way for people to find out how to up their Vitamin D!

    1. Thanks Mikki- so hapy that you are getting more vitamin D than previously, but it really is difficult when you live in a colder climate!

  12. Emily says:

    Ooh I love it, and it made me happy to see that I’m eating some of these regularly.

    1. So happy you already eat lots of these foods Emily!

  13. So important! I love to at least see the sun each day, but it’s not always possible. Luckily a lot of these foods are my fav.

    1. Yay for loving these foods! I wish the sun was out all day!

  14. Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    These is some great info! I am really diligent about getting outside everyday I can, as winter in Maine (where I live) can be rough! Thanks fr sharing this at Sunday Fitness & Food!

    1. Thanks for reading aNGELA! I can imagine living in Maine would make it difficult to get all of the Vitamin D!

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