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


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.


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.


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.


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,


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

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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My Favourite Plant-Based Soups

I’m listening: you wanted meal prep veggie soups, so you shall receive them! Today I’m sharing my favourite plant-based soup options – perfect for the autumn weather!

Soups don’t have to be a side dish and they also don’t have to complicated! A number of these soups have a bean protein addition, a starch, some fat and lots of veggies. That is your formula for a balanced meal!

Let me know which one you want to try first!

Tomato Pasta Soup

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 6


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups veggie broth
  • 1.5 cup mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 cup pasta uncooked


  • In a soup pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add celery, onions, and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, diced tomatoes with liquid, mixed vegetables and seasonings; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook 8 to 10 more minutes, or until pasta is tender.
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One Pot Creamy Vegetable Soup

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 cup peas
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free butter
  • 1/2 cup white beans


  • Heat a large pot on medium heat. Once warm, add the oil, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.Add the butter to the pot.
  • Once it starts to melt combine the flour and mix covering the vegetables in flour. This roux mixture will be thick and sticky. Slowly add the vegetable broth, thyme, and rosemary and mix until well combined. Stir the soup frequently until the soup comes to a gentle boil. As the soup heats up you will start to see the soup thicken.
  • Combine the peas, corn, nutritional yeast, beans and milk to the pot. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on low heat or until the peas and corn have warmed. Divide soup into bowls and serve
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Sheet Pan Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

4.20 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Servings 4


  • 2 Sweet Potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 head Cauliflower florets only
  • 2 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 small White Onion chopped
  • 4 cups Veggie Broth


  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper.
  • Toss the sweet potatoes and cauliflower with 1 tbsp avocado oil and cumin. Spread into a single layer on the prepared sheets. Roast until the veggies start to brown at the edges and the sweet potatoes are tender – about 30 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining avocado oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, until they soften.
  • Ad the cooked sweet potatoes, cauliflower and onion in a blender or food processor. Add the veggie stock and blend.
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Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower & Apple Soup

4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 4


  • 4 cups Butternut Squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups Cauliflower
  • 1 Apple peeled & cored
  • 1 Onion peeled & chopped
  • 3 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup chopped
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 cups Veggie Broth


  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • Add the chopped veggies and the apple to a parchment paper-lined pan and add oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Roast for 25-30 minutes at 425 F, tossing halfway.
  • Add roasted veggies to a blender with 3 cups of veggie broth. Enjoy!
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White Bean Tomato Soup

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Servings 4


  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 1.5 cup White Beans cooked
  • 6 cups Veggie Broth


  • Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Arrange tomatoes and onion on a single layer on the prepared baking pans. Drizzle with oil.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Add garlic; continue roasting until mixture is tender, about 15 minutes more.
  • Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered.
  • Meanwhile, put 1/2 of the tomato mixture in a blender, along with half of the white beans. Cover and pulse 3 times, then blend until smooth, adding hot broth as needed. Pour into the pot with broth. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture and white beans, then stir into the pot until combined.
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Roasted Red Pepper & White Bean Gnocchi Soup

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 4


  • 4 Red Peppers Sliced
  • 2 cups White Beans Cooked
  • 1 Yellow Onion Sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 3 cup Gnocchi
  • 1.5 cups Veggie Broth
  • 1 cup Plant-Based Milk


  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Add the peppers, white beans, onion, garlic and spices to an oven safe baking dish (I used a cast iron pan). Place in the oven uncovered, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  • Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to an oven safe dish, and bake at 400F for 20 minutes until slightly crispy.
  • Transfer the veggies and bean contents to a food processor or blender. Add the vegetable broth and milk and blend. 
  • Portion the soup into bowls. Add some gnocchi to each bowl and enjoy!
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