There’s no denying the fact that eating healthy has become super confusing. While one fad diet tells you to eat one thing, another tells you something completely different. It’s hard to determine what’s legit and what’s not. Good news — we’ve done our research and are breaking down eight nutrient-dense foods to try when changing your diet.
These foods are:
- REAL (yes, seriously — nothing processed, just real, wholesome foods)
Changing Your Eating Habits? Keep These 8 Nutrient-dense Foods Stocked in Your Kitchen
Avocados have been one of the most buzzed-about healthy fats over the last few years — from avocado egg boats to avocado “buns,” or just enjoying half of an avocado with some freshly squeezed lemon juice — there are endless ways to enjoy this nutrient-dense food.
So, what’s the scoop, what makes them so healthy?
Avocados are rich in:
- Healthy fat
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
Here are some delicious ways to add this healthy fat to your diet.
- Use in place of mayo on sandwiches
- Add sliced avocado to salads.
- Blend into smoothies for added creaminess
- Make into avocado egg boats for breakfast
- Snack on half of an avocado with lemon or lime juice and a sprinkle of hemp seeds
- Whip up a batch of guacamole
Lentils are another one of those nutrient-dense foods that we are totally here for. They are loaded with protein and dietary fiber, and they make an easy way to amp up your plant-based protein intake.
Lentils are also a great source of:
Not only are lentils nutrient-packed, but they are also versatile and can be added to tons of recipes like:
- Used in place of beef to make a plant-based “meat sauce”
- Sprinkled over salads for added protein
- Mixed into soups
- Enjoyed with your favorite Taco Tuesday recipe
#3 Dark Leafy Greens
Chances are, we’ve heard “eat your greens” more times then we’d like, but the truth is that it’s one of those nutrient-dense foods wellness experts can’t stop talking about.
And, trying to find some ways to amp up your dark leafy green intake a bit is actually a super healthy idea — plus, there are easy ways to sneak in more veggies without altering the taste of some of your favorite go-to recipes.
Dark leafy greens are rich in nutrients like:
- Vitamin A, C, K
Plain and simple — dark leafy greens are simply too healthy for us to avoid. And, by enjoying them more often, you’ll feel darn good about it knowing that you’re fueling your body with the nutrients it craves.
Here are some creative ways to pack these greens into your diet:
- Add spinach, kale, or collard greens to egg muffins or omelets
- Blend dark leafy greens into your daily smoothie or protein shake
- Add chopped spinach to your favorite stir-fry recipe
- Mix chopped kale into homemade pesto
#4 Superfood Seeds
Small, but mighty, chia, flax, and hemp seeds are nutrient powerhouses that are not only incredibly easy to sprinkle into our diets, but they come with some impressive nutritional benefits.
These superfood seeds are rich in:
- Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids
- Healthy fat
- Plant-based protein
Ready to start sprinkling some into your meals? Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy them:
- Sprinkled over oatmeal
- Blended into a smoothie
- Sprinkled over a yogurt parfait
- Enjoyed with sliced apple or banana with almond butter
- Used to make chia pudding
Here’s another protein-rich plant-based food that seems like wellness pros are always talking about. Why? Quinoa happens to be a great rice swap if you’re looking to add more protein to your meal, but get this — quinoa is actually considered a complete protein, (meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids), which isn’t something we see with too many plant-based foods.
Here are some other impressive reasons to consider adding quinoa to your healthy eating diet:
- One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein.
- Rich in fiber (packing in about 5 grams per cooked cup)
- Rich in folate and magnesium
Here are some yummy ways to enjoy quinoa:
- Use in place of rice
- Try adding it to salads and stir-frys
- Enjoy in place of breakfast cereal with some fresh berries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a drizzle of raw honey.
Ya either love it or hate it, but sauerkraut is one of those gut-loving nutrient-dense foods that’s getting more attention lately. Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics, and probiotics have been shown time and time again to help support digestive health.
So if you love you some kraut, go on and keep enjoying it. Can’t quite get on the sauerkraut bandwagon?
Try out some of our favorite ways to add it to your meals:
- Enjoy with a veggie or turkey burger
- Add to salad
- Enjoy with a burrito or on top of a taco
- Serve with avocado toast
- Top your scrambled eggs or omelet with sauerkraut
Tip — there are so many yummy sauerkraut options out there. From ginger to garlic kraut, there are some tasty ways to enjoy it even if you aren’t the biggest fan of how plain old sauerkraut tastes. Just be sure to check the label on any sauerkraut you buy to watch out for added sugar or artificial ingredients. Some of our favorite brands include Wildbrine and Cleveland Kraut.
#7 Wild-caught Salmon
Here’s another nutrient-dense protein-rich food that also comes with a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s are super important because the body can’t make them on its own — we must get them from diet, and they are known to help support heart health, brain health, and may ease inflammation.
So yes, omega-3 fatty acids are kinda a big deal, and wild-caught salmon happens to make a nutritious way to pack some into our diet.
Need a healthy and delicious salmon recipe to get you started? FitOn Trainer Sydney Benner shares her go-to Sydney Salmon recipe with us that she says she makes weekly at home and it only requires 15 minutes from prep to broil!
Here’s how she makes it.
- Turn broiler on high
- Wash salmon
- Brush with olive oil, front & back
- Brush with gluten-free soy sauce
- Garlic powder across the top
- Salt & pepper
- Generously cover the top with dried thyme
- Broil on high for 7 minutes
The science is out — a study found that consuming one ounce of nuts five times per week was found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by a whopping 14% when compared to those who never or very rarely ate them.
Plus, nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fat, and make a delicious and filling snack. So go on and pick up your favorites from the store because snacking just got healthier.
But, keep in mind that nuts are calorie-heavy and rich in fat so we want to make sure we aren’t eating too much of a good thing.
Keep in mind that an average serving is one ounce of nuts, which equals out to be about the following:
- 24 almonds
- 15 pecan halves
- 12 macadamia nuts
- 18 cashews
- 14 walnuts
Another tip — stick to raw, unsalted, and unroasted nuts to avoid any unhealthy oils or added salt.
Need more inspo on how to include some in your diet?
Here are some of our go-to ways to enjoy them:
- Enjoy in place of unhealthy snacks like chips
- Sprinkle over salads or oatmeal for added crunch
- Use walnuts in place of meat in “meat” sauces or tacos
Enjoy These Nutrient-Dense Foods to Up-level Your Healthy Eating Diet
Ready to take your healthy eating up a notch? Jot down these nutrient-dense foods and stock up next time you head to the grocery store. They make a great way to balance out your diet while adding a powerful nutritional punch.
Plus, not only are these foods nutritionally-packed, but they make for some pretty darn delicious meals too. And when you’re eating nutritious and filling foods you actually enjoy, you may be less likely to reach for those sugary snacks.
Ready to simplify your healthy eating journey? Check out FitOn PRO for Nutritionist-developed recipes and meal plans that make healthy eating easy and delicious.