Missing Nutrients From Our Diet & How To Get Them

According to Health Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey, the diets of many adults were shown to be lacking in certain nutrients.  As many as 25-40% of Canadian adults may be nutrient deficient. Continue reading to avoid being one of them!

The prevalence of inadequate intakes was highest for vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. 

Results From Health Canada’s Survey

  • More than 35% of Canadian adults consumed vitamin A in quantities below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), with the prevalence of inadequate intakes rising to greater than 40% 
  • Similarly, more than 34% of Canadian adults consumed magnesium in quantities below the EAR, with the prevalence of inadequate intakes rising to greater than 40%
  • As for calcium, both males and female adults had a prevalence of inadequate intakes ranging from 26.5% to 80.1 % and 47.5% to 86.9%, respectively. Trends in both sexes showed an increasing prevalence of calcium inadequacy with older age.
  • Of all the nutrients with an EAR, vitamin D had the highest prevalence of inadequate intakes
  • There is concern that Canadian adults may not be meeting their needs for potassium and fibre
  • 6-19% of women 19-50 consumed iron in amounts that fell below adequate
  • 10-35% of Canadians from most age and sex groups consumed folate in inadequate amounts


Let’s discuss the consequences of inadequate amounts of these nutrients long term and how you can get enough of these nutrients in your diet. But first, I want to draw your attention to a ‘one stop’ solution to boost those often-missing nutrients in your diet: 100% juice. I’ve partnered with the Canadian Beverage Association to bring you this information.

100% Juice As A Solution for Missing Nutrients

Did you know that 100% juice is just that, 100% juice? There seems to be a lot of confusion about just what is in 100% juice, it’s important for Canadians to know what they are consuming and how it contributes to their diet.

• 100% juice is a source of essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Research shows that people who drink 100% juice have better quality diets than people who do not drink juice. People who drink juice have higher intakes of vitamins A, C, folate, and magnesium. 1

• 100% of juice drinkers eat more whole fruit than non-fruit juice drinkers, suggesting that 100% juice is complementary to whole fruit and vegetable intake. 2 This is important because most Canadians are not eating the recommended number of daily fruits and vegetables.

   • 100% orange juice contains only naturally occurring sugar from oranges. The sugar content in one 250 ml glass of 100% orange juice is about the same as that of two medium oranges. Consuming a certain amount of naturally occurring sugar in a nutritionally beneficial beverage like 100% juice can be part of a healthy diet.

Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for one cup (8 oz) of orange juice:

100% juice is a great way to insert more folate, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium in your diet. Juice can also be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, providing a further solution for those lacking nutrients in our diet!

Add juice into your diet into your smoothies, as a side to your meals or into a fun dessert like a popsicle!

Let’s now explore how you can get enough of various nutrients that Canadians are often lacking in and how you can recognize signs of deficiency!

How To Get Enough Nutrients & Know The Signs Of Deficiency

Potassium

Signs of Deficiency: Muscle weakness, constipation, irregular heart rhythm and more.
Bump up potassium in your diet with bananas, acorn squash, legumes, tomatoes and 100% juice.

Calcium

Signs of Deficiency: Muscle weakness, constipation, irregular heart rhythm and more
You’ll likely get enough from at least three servings of milk or fortified plant-based milk. It is also found in calcium-fortified orange juice, chia seeds, almonds, oranges and dark leafy greens like kale and broccoli

Vitamin D

Signs of Deficiency: fatigue, bone pain, mood changes, and muscle aches or weakness may set in

Your best bet to get enough vitamin D is through supplements – not many foods are rich in vitamin D. 100% fruit juice fortified with vitamin D can be an option as well.

Vitamin C

Signs of Deficiency:  weakness, gum disease and a poor immune system

The important nutrient is in abundance in many foods, including 100% juice, red and green peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi, lemons, and grapefruit.

Folate

Signs of Deficiency:Fatigue, diarrhea, smooth and tender-feeling tongue

To get folate from food, go for fortified cereals, 100% fru8it juice, beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.

Magnesium

Signs of Deficiency: loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, constipation and more
Add more magnesium into your diet through these magnesium-rich foods: almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, black beans and edamame, along with 100% juice,

Iron

Signs of Deficiency: Shortness of breath, fatigue, cold hands and feet, brittle nails
You can get more iron through iron-fortified cereal, beans (especially lima, navy, and kidney beans), lentils, and spinach. 


1 O’Neil CE, et al. “Diet quality is positively associated with 100% fruit juice consumption in children and adults in the United States: NHANES 2003- 2006”. Nutr J. 2011;10:17

2 Statistics Canada, Fruit and vegetable consumption, 2013 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2014001/article/14018- eng.htm

How You Can Over 100 g of Protein In a Day Without Meat

There is certainly an misconception that if you don’t eat meat, than you can’t get enough protein – but this is so far from the truth!

I’m going to show you how I get over 100 grams of protein, without eating any meat! 

*Note that everyone’s protein needs are different. I usually try to aim for around 80-90 grams of protein a day, based on my weight and physical activity level. More on your protein needs below. 

This post is sponsored by my favourite new way to add protein to my breakfast meal: Allo Protein Powder for Hot Coffee! Out of all my meals, I struggle to get enough protein at breakfast the most, as I try to aim for 20-30 g of protein per meal. I have been using the Allo Nutrition Protein powder in my morning coffee to give me 10 grams of protein – and it mixes in so seamlessly while maintaining the integrity of your black coffee! Watch me mix it into my coffee during this during this TikTok video. The flavours are sugar free, gluten-free and clump free. A really great option for busy people on the go, who may need a protein boost! They are from my home city, Toronto, which makes me love them even more. Check them out at @alloyourcoffee on social!

Function of Protein 

Why do we care about protein anyways?

Let’s first discuss what protein is. Protein is made of amino acids, which your body uses for basic functions like maintaining hair, skin, nails, and bones, and producing hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals. Protein is involved in basically every bodily process. 

It’s also a necessary macronutrient for the building and repair of muscles. Not getting enough protein can lead to muscle wasting, fractures, and susceptibility to infection. Protein deficiency is extremely rare, as long as you’re consuming enough calories. Protein also helps us feel fuller for longer by releasing GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) and CCK (cholecystokinin) – both proteins that play a role in satiety. Protein also decreases levels of a hormone called neuropeptide Y, which can increase hunger.

Before we get into talking about the building blocks of protein, let’s touch on how our body uses protein. When we eat protein – whether it’s a chicken breast or tofu – amino acids are coiled into chains in the shape of helixes. During digestion, these helixes are uncoiled in the stomach, and the chains that make up that protein are broken up into smaller chains by enzymes in the stomach. These chains are then broken up further into individual amino acids in the small intestine by enzymes called proteases. The amino acids are then absorbed into the bloodstream and transported around the body to be used in various functions (as listed above).

So how much protein do we need in a day?

 Protein requirements depend on factors such as body composition, activity level, weight, disease state, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that people should have around 0.8 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, research has evolved since then. A study done in 2012 by Bray et al. in a metabolic ward found that 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight was the sweet spot for protein intake – meaning that a lower protein intake resulted in more lean body mass loss and protein intake over 1.8 g per kg didn’t make much of a difference in composition.  

In a 2018 review of studies by Schoenfeld & Aragon, the consensus was 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram per meal, which works out to about 20 to 30 grams – but this was also recommended four times a day. If you like to eat three meals a day, you can make up the rest of your protein needs in snacks.

For athletes, the latest recommendations from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) are that athletes should be getting between 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilogram bodyweight of protein. This also depends on the type and intensity of training. It’s also best to consume protein throughout the day, especially within 30 minutes following a workout, to optimize its benefit on recovery, repair, and muscle growth. You can read more about the ISSN’s recommendations about protein in the required readings below.

Another important thing to note is that it’s not just the total amount of protein in a day that matters, but it’s also the protein timing. Several researches have found that consuming a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal promotes fullness and preserve muscle mass, better than smaller amounts of protein eaten throughout the day (Deutz & Wolfe, 2013). 

What I Eat To Get My Protein Needs Met

Alright, that being said, this is how I meet my protein needs in a day!

Breakfast (50 g of protein)

  • Allo Protein Powder In Coffee (10 g of Protein)
  • Tofu Scramble + High Protein Bread (40 g of Protein)

Protein Coffee

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package Allo Protein Powder For Hot Coffee
  • 240 ml Coffee

Instructions
 

  • Make your coffee then stir in the package of Allo Protein Powder. Stir and enjoy!
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Tofu Scramble

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 16 Oz Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Red Pepper Sliced
  • 4 Cup Kale
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 0.5 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 0.5 Tsp Turmeric

Instructions
 

  • Pat tofu dry and roll in a clean, absorbent towel with something heavy on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, for 15 minutes.
  • While tofu is draining, prepare sauce by adding dry spices to a small bowl and adding enough water to make a pourable sauce. Set aside.
  • Prep veggies and warm a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and the onion and red pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
  • Add kale, season with a bit more salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 2 minutes.
  • In the meantime, crumble the tofu with a fork into bite-sized pieces.
  • Use a spatula to move the veggies to one side of the pan and add tofu. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add sauce, pouring it mostly over the tofu and a little over the veggies. Stir immediately, evenly distributing the sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until tofu is slightly browned.
  • Serve with high protein bread and enjoy!
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Snacks (12 grams of Protein)

  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Chickpeas (6 g of Protein)
  • 1/4 Cup of Pistachios + 1 Apple (6 g of Protein )

Lunch (27 g of protein)

Baked Chickpea Pasta

Nicole Osinga, RD, MAN, BASc
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 8 oz chickpea pasta dried
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F, then in a large baking dish, add in your cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tsp of olive oil and toss to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of your baking dish and add in your hummus. Top the hummus with the dry basil, oregano and the remaining olive oil, then place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes are blistered and juicy.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Once the veggies and hummus are cooked, carefully with a fork mash your tomatoes and garlic to fully release all of their juices, then mix into the hummus to get a thicker sauce. Mix in cooked pasta and enjoy.
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Dinner (25 g of protein)

Tempeh Quinoa Stir Fry

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 3
Calories 398 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cup Quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Veggie Broth
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Basil
  • 18 oz Tempeh
  • 1/2 Onion sliced
  • 3 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup Edamame
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower chopped

Instructions
 

  • Mix together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, vegetable broth, garlic and oregano in a bowl. Add the tempeh/tofu and marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Add the prepared veggies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the tempeh is done marinating, add it to the parchment-lined baking sheet as well. Add the extra marinade to the veggies.
  • Roast for about 24 to 26 minutes, turning the tempeh and stirring the vegetables halfway through. Top quinoa with roasted tempeh and veggies. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 35gFat: 16g
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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

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

No ratings yet
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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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