How Much Caffeine Should You Have Daily and Where Does It Come From?

Caffeine is certainly in my daily meal plan! I don’t think I would be as productive in a day without my morning and afternoon coffee. Especially with Daylight Savings Time approaching, I will be leaning on caffeine a bit more to assist me with alertness. Many use caffeine to cope with this time change! However, we should all be aware that it is important to be mindful of our caffeine consumption. 

Do you know how much caffeine that you’re having in a day? What is caffeine anyways, and how can it impact your health? 

If you have these questions, I’m breaking them all down, as part of Caffeine Awareness Month. I’m teaming up with the Canadian Beverage Association to present this information to you today!

Me on our honeymoon in Iceland, sipping on my morning coffee

What Is Caffeine 

Caffeine is one of the world’s favourites “pick me ups” and has known and loved benefits such as decreasing fatigue, increasing focus and concentration. In fact, coffee, tea and tap-water are the most commonly consumed beverages by Canadians, between the ages of 18-79. As well, more than 29 million servings of coffee were consumed in Canada in 2015.

Caffeine is a bitter alkaloid that is naturally found in 60 different plants, including coffee beans, cola nuts, guarana nuts and yerba mate. It can also be synthetically produced and added to soft drinks, energy drinks, dietary supplements and energy bars.

Although there are some health benefits, caffeine should be consumed in moderation to ensure optimal functionality and sleep hygiene.

Health Benefits of Caffeine 

Caffeine is a stimulant and it works by temporarily blocking the systems that slow us down. Due to it being a stimulant, it can help improve physical performance and cognitive function

In fact, it has been found that caffeine before exercise in doses of about 200 mg improve endurance performance, team sport performance and high intensity-type activities (sprints, weight lifting) with little to no risk of side effects at that level of consumption.

In terms of long term health benefits, the following have been found in the literature:

However, it is important not to get too excited about the health benefits of caffeine, as too much is not always a good thing. Risks of too much caffeine intake include:

  • Increased anxiety 
  • Insomnia 
  • Headaches 
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Over-consumption in pregnancy increases risk for low birth weight and preterm labour 

How Much Is Safe? 

Health Canada, the Food and Drug Association FDA, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider 400mg of caffeine to be a safe moderate consumption for the healthy average adult (excluding pregnant and breastfeeding people). EFSA also considers 200mg of caffeine to be a safe single dose of caffeine that most consumers can consume without negative effect (even before sport).

Health Canada recommends that pregnant women or women of childbearing age keep their caffeine intake below 300 mg.

Where Is Caffeine Found?

Source: Canadian Beverage Association

How much caffeine is found in common beverages? 

Coffee (per cup)

  • 95 mg in homebrewed coffee
  • 180 mg in a small coffee house drip 
  • 100 mg in instant coffee 
  • 5 mg in decaf coffee 

Tea (per cup)

  • 47 mg in black tea
  • 30 mg in green tea
  • 0 mg in herbal tea
  • 280 mg in matcha tea powder (4 tsp)


  • 34mg in diet & regular cola (355ml)

Chocolate products

  • 5 mg in hot chocolate (250 ml)
  • 20 mg in chocolate (per 100 g bar)
  • 36 mg in chocolate cake (80 g)

Energy Drinks:

  • 80 mg in a typical energy drink (250ml)
  • 138 mg in Starbucks double shot energy coffee drink (444 ml)

Tracking Your Caffeine Intake

It may be an interesting exercise to track how much caffeine that you are having in a day – to get a picture of your typical caffeine consumption. I used an app called HiCoffee for a week to track what I was consuming for caffeine in a day and my caffeine intake surprised me! I thought I was consuming under 400 mg of caffeine most days, however there were a few days that I was consuming 500 & 600 mg of caffeine!

I suggest that you try out an app like this. With daylight savings time approaching, this may be a good time to try it out, as our caffeine intake may increase! 

Bottom Line:

Caffeine has health benefits and can assist with alertness, especially during the Daylight Savings ‘Spring Forward’ Time. However, it is important to be mindful of caffeine intake so that we don’t exceed the 400 mg/day or 300 mg during pregnancy.  Potential negative effects of caffeine can range from increased anxiety to sleep deprivation. 

October is Pasta Month! Showcasing my Six Favourite Pasta Dishes

My favourite month of the year is here and even better news – October is Pasta Month!

Today I’m showcasing new and better-for-you ways to enjoy pasta  – it is such a versatile and delicious food staple! I actually have six of my favourite pasta recipes to share with you today.

To make a ‘better-for-you’ pasta, I have 3 tips to share:

  • Swap Out Meat For Plant-Based Alternatives -Let’s try to swap in plant-based alternatives to traditional meat-containing pasta recipes! Decreasing our meat intake, especially red meat intake, can result in a reduction of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. The following recipes, I’ve used various legumes. The legumes provide a protein and fibre-rich alternative to our traditional meat additives.
  • Pasta With ‘Better-For You’ Cream Sauces – I’m a sucker for a creamy pasta sauce, but I don’t always feel great after having it! For these recipes I’ve subbed in a yogurt or plant-based milk instead of cream, to take down the heavy feeling we may be feeling after that meal.
  • Load Pasta With Veggies – Most of us don’t get enough veggies, so pack in the veggies with that pasta! For these recipes, the veggies are so nicely incorporated into each dish, they really add such a nice texture and flavour. The veggies add a ton of micronutrients and fibre, which keeps both dishes low in the glycemic index – pasta has a low glycemic index as well! This means you won’t have an energy crash after this delicious meal.

Spaghetti & Chickpea Meatballs

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 4


  • 15 oz Chickpeas cooked
  • 1/2 cup Plain Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Flax Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 cup Pasta Sauce
  • 8 oz Pasta


  • Cook the pasta according to directions on the box.
  • Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixture is cohesive and mostly smooth.
  • Use a small cookie dough scoop or measuring spoon to gather one heaping Tablespoon amounts and roll into balls. You should have 14 golfball-sized meatballs. (If the mixture feels too wet to form, add 1 to 2 more Tbsp breadcrumbs.)
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add chickpea meatballs and cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning to brown all sides, until golden.
  • Serve with pasta and tomato sauce!
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Lentil Pasta Sauce & Rotini Pasta

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 4


  • 8 oz Rotini Pasta
  • 2 cup Lentils cooked
  • 2 cups Pasta Sauce
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 1 White Onion diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 3 Spinach handfuls
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Red Peppers


  • Cook the pasta according the instructions on the box.
  • Add the peppers, garlic, onion and tomato sauce to a large skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes. Stir in the spinach and cooked lentils. Add nutritional yeast. Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring every so often, then turn off the heat. 
  • Serve over the rotini pasta – enjoy!
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Lighted-Up Fettuccine Alfredo

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4


  • 8 oz Fettuccine
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Veggie Broth
  • 3/4 cup Milk/Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan/Vegan Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp Greek Yogurt/Vegan Yogurt


  • Cook the fettuccine according to box directions.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over evenly, then stir and cook until mixture is lightly golden.  
  • Very gradually add broth in while whisking, 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for mixture to become completely smooth before adding more broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then gradually stream in milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add Parmesan and yogurt, if using. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 
  • Add pasta and toss to combine. Enjoy!
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Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

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Servings 4


  • 8 oz Rotini Pasta
  • 2 cup Cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup Cashews
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 large Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk


  • Bring two pots of water to a boil. In one pot add the cauliflower and cashews. In the other pot, cook rotini pasta according to package directions until al dente. Cook the cauliflower and cashews for about 10-15 minutes, until they are both soft.
  • Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from head.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Steam the bell pepper in microwave or veggie steamer for a few minutes until soft then put under the broiler for 20 minutes until it's slightly charred (flipping halfway through).
  • When the cauliflower and cashews are soft, add them into a high-speed blender with 1 cup of canned coconut milk. Add in the nutritional yeast, garlic, and roasted pepper. Blend sauce on high until completely smooth. 
  • Toss with pasta with sauce and enjoy!
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Basil Tofu “Ricotta’ Stuffed Pasta Shells

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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 4


  • 8 oz Medium Pasta Shells
  • 2 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 1 block Tofu extra-firm
  • 1/3 cup Vegan Mozzarella Shreds
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cook pasta shells according to box instructions.
  • In a food processor, combine extra-firm tofu, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic powder. Pulse, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed, until the mixture is almost smooth and the basil is chopped and evenly distributed. Do not overprocess, the tofu should still have a slightly grainy texture.
  • Pour 2 cups of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9” x 9” casserole dish. Fill cooked pasta shells with tofu ricotta. Place stuffed shells on top of marinara sauce .Optional: Spoon shells with extra marinara sauce and vegan cheese shreds.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool down and enjoy!
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Easy Vegetable Lasagna

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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Servings 8


  • 14 Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 tbsp Garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Zucchini medium
  • 2 cups Butternut Squash diced
  • 12 oz Red Peppers
  • 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 handful Basil
  • 1 oz Tofu Ricotta
  • 2 oz Parmesan Cheese/Vegan Parmesan
  • 8 oz Mozzarella/Vegan Mozzarella


  • Cook lasagna pasta according to box directions. Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch, another 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the basil.
  • Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover the bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. Spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.
  • Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make the cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
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