What Are High Nutrient-Density Foods?
(Facts Not Fads Part 3)
High nutrient-density foods have many good components like vitamins and minerals in relation to calories.
Examples of food with a high-nutrient density include vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. They help keep you healthy without making you gain too much weight.
Here is a list of foods with high nutrient-density:
- Spinach: Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Kale: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, plus fibre and minerals.
- Blueberries: Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre.
- Salmon: Provides omega-3 fatty acids and quality protein.
- Quinoa: A protein-rich whole grain with fibre and essential nutrients.
- Broccoli: High in vitamins C and K, as well as fibre.
- Almonds: Offer healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E.
- Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins A and C, plus fibre
- Chia Seeds: Provide fibre healthy fats, and essential minerals.
- Lentils: Packed with protein, fibre, and various nutrients.
How To Integrate High Nutrient-Dense Foods To Your Diet
Start with Awareness: Learn about the high nutrient density foods available and their benefits.
Plan Your Meals: Incorporate these foods into your meals intentionally. For example, choose a high nutrient density fruit like berries for breakfast, a leafy green salad with lean protein for lunch, and include vegetables and whole grains in your dinner.
Shop Smart: When you go grocery shopping, focus on the produce section and select a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits. Look for whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
Batch Prep: Prepare some of these foods in advance, such as chopping vegetables or cooking whole grains. Having them readily available can make it easier to include them in your meals.
Simple Swaps: Make small changes by replacing less nutritious options with high nutrient density alternatives. For instance, swap out white rice for quinoa or choose a salad instead of fried sides.
Snack Wisely: Choose nutrient-dense snacks like carrot sticks, apple slices, or a handful of almonds instead of processed snacks.
Smoothies: Blend fruits, leafy greens, and a source of protein like Greek yogurt or protein powder to create a nutrient-packed smoothie.
Cook at Home: Preparing your own meals gives you control over the ingredients you use. Experiment with recipes that include a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Gradual Changes: Start by making small changes to your diet rather than attempting a complete overhaul. This makes it more sustainable and less overwhelming.
Hydration: Don’t forget about liquids. Choose water, herbal teas, or naturally flavoured water over sugary beverages.
Mindful Eating: Pay attention to how you feel after eating high nutrient density foods. Notice the positive effects they have on your energy levels and overall well-being.
Variety: Aim for variety in your choices. Eating a diverse range of nutrient-dense foods ensures you get a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Remember, the key is to make these changes gradually and find what works best for your lifestyle and preferences. Over time, incorporating high nutrient density foods will become a natural and enjoyable part of your diet.
Recipes For High Nutrient-Density Foods
I have included recipes for a three course meal with optimum high nutrient-density foods. Each recipe is simple to make, low calorie and highly nutritious. Try to integrate one or two of these suggestions into your meal planner and see the positive impact on you and your family’s health.
Simple Lentil Soup
- 1 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
- Add the minced garlic, ground cumin, turmeric, paprika, and ground coriander (if using). Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the rinsed lentils, vegetable or chicken broth, and bay leaf to the pot. Give everything a good stir.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup, leaving some texture but also creating a creamy consistency.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a hint of brightness.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
- Serve the lentil soup with a side of whole grain bread or a simple salad for a complete and satisfying meal.
This simple lentil soup is hearty, flavorful, and packed with plant-based protein and fiber. It’s a nutritious option for a quick and nourishing meal.
Baked Salmon with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes
- 2 salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the diced sweet potato on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the sweet potato pieces evenly.
- In a bowl, toss the broccoli florets with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Place the seasoned salmon fillets on the same baking sheet, skin side down, next to the sweet potatoes.
- Arrange the seasoned broccoli around the salmon and sweet potatoes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, and the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve the salmon alongside the roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the salmon and vegetables before enjoying.
This recipe provides a balance of protein from the salmon, fibre and vitamins from the broccoli, and complex carbohydrates from the sweet potatoes. It’s a wholesome and satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare!
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon granola (optional, for added crunch)
- In a bowl, mix the Greek yogurt with honey or maple syrup until well combined. This will serve as the creamy layer of your parfait.
- Take two serving glasses or bowls. Begin by layering a spoonful of the yogurt mixture at the bottom of each glass.
- Add a layer of fresh blueberries on top of the yogurt.
- Sprinkle a layer of chopped almonds over the blueberries. You can lightly toast the almonds for extra flavor if you prefer.
- Repeat the layers until you’ve used up all the ingredients or reached your desired amount of layers.
- If you’re using granola, add a sprinkle of granola on top for a delightful crunch.
- Finish with a few more blueberries and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top for presentation.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for a short while if you’d like the flavors to meld slightly.
This blueberry-almond parfait is a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy the natural sweetness of blueberries along with the crunch of almonds, all combined with the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt.