There are so many obvious benefits to eating a nutrient-rich diet…Like preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even may be cancer to name a few. But how can you make it work? The easiest approach is to make a few easy swaps to your normal everyday diet.
Nutrient Density…what is it!?
Nutrient density refers to the amount of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber in a given portion of food – for the fewest number of calories. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry are all nutrient-dense foods that give you a big bang for your buck: plenty of vitamins and minerals for the calories. Here are 10 simple & sneaky ways to add more nutrient dense foods to your diet!
1. Buy organic vegetables and fruits whenever possible! Some studies have found that organic fruits and veggies contain about 25% higher concentrations of 11 nutrients than these regular store bought items. Furthermore, you avoid pesticide residues.
2. Ditch the ranch & dress your salad up with avocado for your dressing! Avocados are full of folate and will lower your intake of unhealthy fats which protect your heart. Puree avocado, lemon juice, sea salt & pepper for a simple salad dressing…YUM!
3. Choose an Ezekiel English muffin instead of a regular bagel. The average whole grain bagel is 350 calories verses 160 in an Ezekiel English muffin…plus its made from sprouted grains which increases vitamin content. Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid (a substance present in grains) that inhibits absorption of nutrients. More importantly, sprouting neutralizes or “predigests” grains through enzymatic activity. The enzymes produced during the natural sprouting process breaks down amino acid protein bonds to promote digestibility of the entire grain…making sprouted grains a true superfood! Top with some apple or pumpkin butter for a lower sugar jam substitute!
4. Sub your normal high fat & crap mayo with this white bean spread instead! It will give you an extra boost of fiber & protein with fewer calories.
1 can (15 ounces) white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
8 garlic cloves, roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5. Swap your milk for yogurt! Yogurt is rich in probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that keeps digestion healthy & boosts immunity. Instead of your normal cereal topped with milk, try 1 cup of Greek yogurt (make sure it is pasteurized!) mixed with 1 cup of the high antioxidant superfood & my personal favorite…blueberries!
6. Can’t get your calcium from dairy? Then try adding extra greens! Kale, collard, mustard greens & spinach contain fiber, beta carotene and more nutrients than dairy products with fewer calories. One cup of cooked collards has as much calcium as a cup of milk…saving you 100 calories.
7. Buy pasteurized eggs! These eggs contain 5x more vitamin D, twice as much omega-3 fats, 3x more vitamin E, and 7x more beta carotene than normal store bought eggs. We buy ours from our local farmers market…a bit more expensive but worth it!
8. Eat chocolate! YES! You heard me right….chocolate BUT make it count…cacao beans are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. But you will only find the good stuff in raw cacao nibs and extra-dark chocolate…not the normal stuff found in your Hershey’s bar Add some cacao nibs to smoothies or yogurt for a nice chocolately crunch! Or choose packaged chocolate bars that are at least 70% cacao.
9. Skip store bought granola (which is loaded with sugar & fat) and make your own! Use rolled oats (gluten free or regular) with chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, stir in a bit of agave or pure maple syrup and bake until golden…add dried fruit such as cranberries or raisins and some coconut after it cools…use this as a topping for your yogurt/smoothies or as part of a trail mix for a healthy snack! Check out one of my previous blog postings for a detailed recipe!
10. Choose grass-fed over regular store bought beef. Studies show grass fed beef is lower in saturated fat and calories and higher in omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid- a compound with cancer-protective and anti-obesity effects).
Try a few of these simple changes & let me know if you feel a difference!
Have a great week!