Maximize nutrition and make the most of every meal

You’ve probably heard the term nutrient-dense foods.  Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Examples include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, eggs, peas, beans, and nuts.  There are also many nutrients you can add to your meals to further increase the nutrient density and even pair together to maximize absorption.  Make the most of every meal by challenging yourself to incorporate one or two of these bonus ingredients to make the most of every meal.

  • Flaxseeds: One tablespoon of flaxseed provides a good amount of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. It may help lower the risk of some cancers, help maintain a health weight, and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Try mixing it into homemade veggie burgers, smoothies, muffins, and oats.
  • Cinnamon: Add it to your morning coffee, smoothie, or oats. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Turmeric: Sprinkling half a teaspoon of turmeric on your eggs or roasted vegetables, or drinking turmeric tea can go a long way. Turmeric is beneficial for managing inflammation.
  • Chia seeds: Sprinkle them on your salad or into your morning smoothie or make chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, omega-3, and may help to lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Studies show that nutritional yeast offers several potential health benefits, ranging from lower cholesterol to protection from cellular damage that leads to disease. Nutritional yeast is a great source of plant-based protein, B vitamins, and trace minerals.
  • Hemp Seeds:  These seeds offer healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, and minerals.  They can be sprinkled on smoothies, salad, and oatmeal.
  • Garlic: Luckily, many recipes already call for garlic, including stir fry, salad dressings, pastas, and soups. Garlic not only helps boost immunity and works as an anti-inflammatory, but also helps your heart health too.
  • Spinach: A great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B, A, E, C, and K. Add a handful of spinach to a smoothie or add to egg/tofu scramble in the morning. Try a spinach salad for lunch, or mix it into your pasta recipe for dinner.
  • Walnuts: This nut beats out all the others in terms of antioxidant levels, which help fight oxidative damage in your body.   The omega-3 content helps reduce heart disease risk.  Add chopped nuts to chia seed pudding, salad, or pasta.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Switch out any butter or vegetable oils for extra virgin olive oil. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Pomegranate seeds: Aside from adding them to a salad or drinking fresh pomegranate juice, you can also eat pomegranates on their own for a snack. They are high in antioxidants and promote heart health.
  • Maca Powder: You can add maca powder to smoothies, coffee, pancakes, oatmeal, or baked goods. It can be incredibly powerful 
  • Kimchi: This traditional Korean dish is an easy add-on to your stir fry and tastes great in a veggie wrap. A great gut-boosting food, kimchi is filled with probiotics, and we all know a balanced gut microbiome is important for overall health.
  • Golden Berries: This tiny berry packs a punch. Filled with vitamins and minerals, you can eat golden berries on their own or with yogurt and granola.  Try our Harvest apple goldenberry salad! *Offered seasonally

Perfect Pairings:

Many foods work in synergy, meaning the nutrients work together to help maximize the absorbability or accessibility of the other’s vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or phytonutrients.

  • Fat soluble vitamins & Fats

When eating foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E, D, and K (foods like carrots, leafy green veggies, and legumes) – pair them with a fat such as olive oil or avocado to greatly increase the ability for nutrient absorption by the body.

  • Vitamin D & Calcium
You know calcium is important for bone health , but it can only do its job with the help of vitamin D!
Try  calcium-rich dark leafy greens like spinach or kale with foods containing vitamin D, such as wild-caught salmon or mushrooms.
  • Green tea + lemon
Green tea is packed with anti-aging, brain-boosting, heart-healthy antioxidants called catechins. By adding a squeeze of vitamin C-rich lemon, you’ll significantly boost the bioavailability of these compounds.
  • Roast Your Veggies
Did you know that many vegetables require light cooking in order to help prepare the nutrient molecules for easier breakdown and absorption by the body? Foods such as spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes are best sautéed, roasted, or steamed before consumption if you’d like to maximize nutrient absorption.
  • Iron and Vitamin C
Spinach + bell peppers – vitamin C is an antioxidant in bell peppers that helps improve the absorption of energizing iron found in spinach. Not into peppers? Strawberries, broccoli and citrus fruits are also rich sources of vitamin C that can be substituted for the same effect.

    Let's put this in action!

    Example Healthy Meals:
    Oatmeal with blueberries
    Salad with spinach, chickpeas, cucumbers, and carrots with olive oil & vinegar
    Salmon and steamed broccoli with quinoa
    Pretty healthy, right? Now let's maximize these same meals:
    Oatmeal with blueberries
    Sprinkle maca powder, chia seeds, and chopped walnuts
    Add cinnamon or Swap for green tea with lemon
    Salad with spinach, chickpeas, cucumbers, and carrots with olive oil & vinegar
    Sprinkle on hemp seeds and kimchi, add bell peppers to help absorb the iron-rich spinach.
    Salmon and steamed broccoli with quinoa
    Sprinkle nutritional yeast on broccoli and mix in sauteed kale (The vitamin D in the salmon will help maximize the calcium absorption from the kale).

    Finally, something you can ADD instead of eliminate to your everyday cuisine. If you want help from our experts to maximize your current diet, check out our affordable dietitian consult package