10 Ways to Get Vitamin D Without the Sun

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021

From the beginning of October through March, the angle of the sun prevents much of North America from getting vitamin D making vitamin D-rich foods essential during the winter months.

Sun in blue sky with cloud
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When sunlight is scarce

During the summer, the body can convert sunlight from just ten to 15 minutes of daily exposure into ample amounts of vitamin D. From the beginning of October through March, however, that’s not possible in much of North America, when the angle of the sun sinks lower into the southern hemisphere and daylight becomes more scarce. So you may need to up your consumption of vitamin D-rich foods in the winter (even if you’re spending lots of time outside building snowmen!). The current recommendation is 400-600 IU (international units) per day. Plus, learn some more ways to eat more vitamin D-rich foods.

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A hundred grams of mushrooms provide some vitamin D, so freely toss them in your food. But for the biggest boost, some growers produce special Portobello mushrooms that have been exposed to a flash of UV light to increase the content of the vitamin. You can even sprinkle on the benefits with Portobello mushroom powder.

Grilled salmon with quinoa salad on brown plate.
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With more than 100 IU per ounce, salmon tops all other foods for naturally occurring vitamin D. Here are some more naturally vitamin-rich foods you should be eating.

Canned salmon

Six ounces has 323% of your daily need. Toss this on a salad instead of chicken, or try a salmon salad sandwich instead of tuna. Consider this a more cost-effective way of getting in your weekly salmon.



Half a dozen oysters have over 60% of your daily need. Watch out for these popular diets that could put you at risk for a vitamin D deficiency.

Alaskan Halibut on Dinner Plate with Green Beans and Lemon Slices
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Three ounces has 254% of your daily need. Halibut is a firm white fish that has a mild flavor.

Grilled shrimps on skewer with lime slices and salad


Six ounces has 64% of your daily needs. As we know from Forrest Gump, there are endless ways to enjoy shrimp. If you’re wondering why eating vitamin D-rich foods is so important anyway, learn about the vitamin D benefits that could save your life.

Modern barbecue crocodile tail eye fillet with roasted sweet potatoes pineapples and mango chili chutney as top view on a plate


For being a relatively mild-tasting fish, cod has a commendable 18% of your daily need for the vitamin in only six ounces. For other fish with good levels of vitamin D, check out this list.

Fried eggs with toasts and coffee on the table
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One large egg has 4% of your daily value, but you need to include the yolk. If you’re considering taking vitamin D supplements, here’s what you need to know first.

chunks and rind of parmigiano cheese with near a big piece of heart


Swiss – one ounce has 3%
Parmesan – one ounces has 2%
Cheddar – one ounce has 1%

Stir Fried Tofu in a bowl with sesame and greens. Homemade healthy vegan asian meal - fried tofu.
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Fortified products

Fortified milk, soy milk, and tofu are also additional sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D may be difficult to get enough of if you dislike fish or don’t eat it frequently enough. Get your levels checked and discuss supplementation with your doctor. You should also learn the signs you’re not getting enough vitamin D.