Soybeans are one of the most versatile foods out there. Not only can you eat soybeans just as they are (or roasted, yum!), but soybeans can be transformed into a wide variety of soy products fortified with Vitamin D. Since few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, fortification is a way to make sure we are getting some through food sources. Vitamin D is crucial in maintaining overall immune health and supporting our defenses against illness (Holick, 2008). You may think soy products are only for vegetarians and vegans, but they are a good way for anyone to get some extra Vitamin D in their diet.
Soy milk is made from grinding dry soybeans with water until they form a milk consistency. Not only does soy milk have a comparable amount of protein as cow’s milk, but due to fortification, it also boasts around 15% of your daily need of Vitamin D per serving (NIH, 2013). Try drinking a glass of vitamin D fortified soy milk or adding it to cereal or fruit/veggie smoothies.
It may seem intimidating if you’ve never made tofu, but it is one of the easiest foods to cook, comes in several textures, and takes on the flavor of whatever dish you add it to. Tofu is made from thickening soy milk and then pressing the curds into a solid block. One-fifth of a block of fortified tofu contains about 120 IUs or 20% of your daily need for Vitamin D.
Try substituting silken tofu for ricotta cheese in lasagna. Add firm or extra firm tofu to a stir-fry instead of meat or scramble up some silken tofu with some salsa for a Texas-style breakfast burrito.
Ready to give tofu a try? Here are some quick and easy recipes.
Easy BBQ Flavored Baked Tofu
Cut up a block of firm tofu and coat in your favorite BBQ sauce, and bake. Serve this up on a BBQ sandwich or mix in with some rice and your favorite veggies.
Savory Grilled Tofu On-A-Stick
Cut up extra-firm tofu into cubes, marinate for a few hours in your favorite mustard, then skewer them up, coat in chili pepper flake seasoned breadcrumbs, and toss them on the grill. You can also add bell peppers or pineapple to your skewers for added vitamins A and C.
You can find these recipes and more on the Nutrition tab in the d.velop™ App! Tap the Strawberry icon, scroll to the bottom, tap “See all recommended recipes,” and enter the recipe name in the search bar.
Laura Ward, MS, RDN, IBCLC
Holick MF. 2008. The vitamin D deficiency pandemic and consequences for nonskeletal health: mechanisms of action. Molecular aspects of medicine. 29(6):361-8.
Office of dietary supplements - vitamin d. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind-healthprofessional/. Published December 2013. Accessed August 17, 2021.