Updated: Jul 24
Imagine if every meal you had gave you a superpower boost.
Every bite you take filling your body with amazing energy and making you feel powerful.
Fuel. Energy. Burn. Repeat.
And as you enjoy these special meals, something magical happens inside you. You became healthier, happier, and full of unstoppable energy.
How awesome would that be?
But it might feel like a faraway dream.
❌ Your meals might not give you the nutrients you need.
❌ You might feel tired and weak.
But guess what? You can change that!
As a health and fitness coach, I've seen how the right food can transform my clients' lives.
And nutrient-dense meals are a SECRET WEAPON.
Read on and learn more.
Table of Contents
What does a nutrient dense meal look like?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released American dietary guidelines in 2010 and Harvard School of Public health also released a healthy eating plate to help people make healthy food choices.
Nutrient-dense foods offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to your energy reserves.
Think of it as your body's personal spa day. They pamper and rejuvenate your cells, giving you a refreshed and revitalized feeling, just like a luxurious spa treatment.
Are you ready?
The following are 10 nutrient-dense foods that may benefit your health. As always everyone is unique and may interact with foods differently. Please check in with your medical professional or a nutritionist with dietary restrictions:
Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, potassium, selenium, B vitamins
Supports heart health, brain function, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, fiber, B6 and folate
2 cups (raw) or 1 cup (cooked)
Supports thyroid function, improves bone health, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
1-2 servings per week
Vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, antioxidants
½ -1 clove
Antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber
½ - 1 cup
Supports bone health, boosts immune function, aids digestion, and promotes healthy skin and hair.
1-2 cups (raw) or ½ cup (cooked)
Protein, magnesium, phosphorus, folate
½ - 1 cup (cooked)
Calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, phosphorus
Boosts brain health, supports heart health, aids weight management, promotes healthy skin, and provides plant-based protein.
1 ounce (about 23 almonds)
Plain Greek Yogurt
Protein, calcium, probiotics, phosphorus
Fun fact: Did you know kale has more vitamin C than an orange? One cup of chopped kale has over 100% recommended daily vitamin C intake. A great addition to any nutrient-dense meal.
How To Have Nutrient Dense Meals Every Time? (18 Ways)
Crafting nutrient-dense meals involves strategically selecting ingredients that pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Creating nutrient-dense meals aims to:
✔ Engage your taste buds.
✔ Nourish your body.
✔ Support your overall health.
And don't worry.
It is simple, satisfying, and delicious.
The best part?
You can prepare them easily and quickly.
In fact, with these 18 strategies, you can design meals that are brimming with nutrients and bursting with flavor.
1) Green Powder Magic
Start your day by adding a scoop of green powder to your morning smoothie or sprinkle it over your favorite yogurt.
This simple addition boosts essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
2) Smoothie Sensations
Blend various fruits, leafy greens, and protein sources for a refreshing, nutrient-packed smoothie.
Getting a wide range of nutrients in one delicious sip is convenient.
3) Nourish Bowl Bliss
Mix a colorful array of foods, like
✔ Whole fruits
✔ Lean proteins
✔ Healthy fats
Customize your nourish bowl with your favorite toppings and dressings for a satisfying meal.
4) Plant-Powered Protein
Incorporate plant-based protein sources like legumes, tofu, tempeh, or edamame. These options provide essential amino acids and bring vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
5) Rainbow Plating
Make your meals visually appealing by incorporating a vibrant assortment of fruits and vegetables.
Aim for diverse colors; each hue offers a unique set of health-promoting nutrients.
6) Supercharged Salads
Upgrade your salads by adding dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, and various colorful vegetables.
Top it off with a homemade dressing for an extra burst of flavor.
7) Power Packed Snacks
Keep your snacks nutrient-dense by choosing options like mixed nuts, Greek yogurt with berries, veggie sticks with hummus, or homemade energy bars made with whole grains and dried fruits.
8) Protein-Packed Breakfast
Start your day with protein-rich food. Scrambled eggs with vegetables, a chia seed pudding topped with nuts and fruits, or a hearty breakfast quinoa bowl.
9) Whole Grain Goodness
Opt for whole grain alternatives such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, or oats. These provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than their refined counterparts.
10) Flavorful Herbs and Spices
Add flavor with herbs or spices. They add depth of flavor and bring an array of antioxidants and phytochemicals to your plate.
Examples of herbs and spices:
11) Nutrient-Dense Soups
Prepare homemade soups using vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. They are a comforting and nutrient-rich option, especially during colder months.
12) Seafood Delights
Include salmon, mackerel, and tuna in your meals in moderation. The healthy fats found in these fish can support brain health, your heart and reduce inflammation.
13) Leafy Greens Galore
Add leafy greens like spinach or kale. These greens are generous in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
You can enjoy it in salad, stir-fry, or as a side dish.
14) Colorful Veggie Stir-Fry
Whip up a vibrant stir-fry by combining colorful vegetables with lean protein and a flavorful sauce.
You can customize. It's a quick and nutrient-dense option for your taste preferences.
15) Wholesome Homemade Dressings
Ditch the store-bought dressings which may contain unhealthy fats and preservatives.
Instead, make your dressings using quality ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices for a nutrient-dense and delicious addition to your salads and meals.
16) Powerhouse Smoothie Bowls
Take your smoothies to the next level. Pour into a bowl and add toppings like fresh fruits, nuts, and coconut flakes.
It's a satisfying and visually appealing way to enjoy a nutrient-packed meal.
17) Mindful Portion Control
While focusing on nutrient density, it's essential to be mindful of the portions, this helps t ensure you're consuming a balanced amount of calories.
Pay attention to your body's food cravings and fullness cues to avoid overeating.
18) Hydration with a Twist
Stay hydrated by infusing your water with fresh fruits, herbs, or cucumber slices for a refreshing and flavorful twist. Hydration is key for nutrient absorption and well-being.
Nutrient-dense meals are an art that combines the science of nutrition with the pleasure of eating.
FAQs about Nutrient-Dense Meals
How do you make a nutrient-dense meal?
Incorporate whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Aim for variety, balance, and portion control to get a wide range of essential nutrients.
Are eggs nutrient-dense?
Absolutely! Eggs are supercharged with protein, vitamins, and important minerals like vitamins B12 and D.
What to do next?
Make nutrient-dense meals a part of your life. When you do, it’s easy to see how the right foods can significantly impact your health.
The secret to success is simple: Start by making small changes you can sustain, then build on those.
✔ Explore new recipes
✔ Stock up on wholesome ingredients
✔ Prioritize meal planning
✔ Practice portion control
After all, eating well is not just about nutrition. It’s about feeling great too!
And if you've gained valuable insights, please share them in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!
About the Author
Alexa Hanshaw is a health and stress management coach who helps women be the CEO of their stress. She empowers her clients to push past the confusion of the health and wellness industry to create lifestyle habits that bring them energy and work with their bodies instead of against it.
Join her free Facebook group, Be the CEO of Your Stress, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube for quick, easy & healthy tips on stress, health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and how to stay mindful!