Nature has given us an abundance of foods to keep us healthy. Yet – many of us gravitate towards junk food because it tastes good and it’s convenient.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s easy to eat more healthy food if you take the right steps to do so. Let me show you how!
What are Nutrient-Dense Foods?
Nutrient-dense foods are foods that are high in health-promoting properties such as micronutrients, phytonutrients, and fiber while being low in calories. As you might imagine, many of the green veggies tend to be the ones with the highest nutrient density and with the lowest amount of calories.
By maximizing our consumption of these foods, we can help our liver to detox the body naturally and prevent weight gain. It might not sound very tasty, but that’s why here I’m sharing 5 tips to enhance the flavor of these foods.
1. Make Salads More Colorful
There’s a reason why big food companies put artificial food colorings into things. Our eyes are drawn to foods that are colorful. The way something is colored can even change the way you perceive the taste.
Picture a big bowl of lettuce and kale. Doesn’t seem that appetizing, does it? Everything’s green.
Now, picture a bowl of perfectly chopped lettuce, mixed with avocado, mango shredded carrots and multi-colored tomatoes.
Both are salads, but one is far more appetizing than the other – wouldn’t you agree?
Next time you think making a salad is boring, get creative with what you’re doing. Don’t stick to the standard lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Add things like shredded carrots, colored corn, bell peppers, radish, avocado, shredded cabbage and even some chilled whole grains.
Pretend that you’re making a work of art that you’re going to eat! And if you need some extra inspiration, go on a culinary vacation and learn how to combine all these vegetables to make the tastiest salad ever.
2. Eat Fruit Based Ice Cream for Dessert
Let’s face it, everyone loves dessert. There’s nothing like a refreshing taste of sweetness after a savory meal.
Instead of reaching for the ice cream or cookies, consider making yourself a fruit-based ice cream (AKA Nice Cream) or sorbet for dessert. You can even hide veggies in it if you don’t want your kids to notice.
Here’s an easy way to do it…
- Take half of a frozen banana along with 1 cup of frozen nutrient-dense berries like cherries or blueberries. Put them all in the blender. For an even bigger nutrient-punch, you can add a cup of easy to break-down veggies like kale.
- Add cocoa powder or vanilla extract to it, depending on the type flavor you want. You can even use fresh vanilla bean.
- Add the smallest amount of liquid possible and blend. ¼ to ½ cup of plant-based milk is ideal.
- Enjoy with a spoon!
For this tip, it helps if you have a blender capable of handling frozen fruit if you want it to be super thick and with a similar texture to ice cream. If you don’t have such blender, you can thaw everything out for 5-7 minutes or add a bit more liquid.
3. Add Veggies in Things You Already Love
If you have a meal that you love to eat, you can slowly start incorporating more veggies into it. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated either.
Here are a few things you can do:
- If you’re making a stir-fry, slowly start adjusting the ratio of rice to vegetables. This will greatly increase the nutrient density of the meal and you probably won’t even notice it. You can also consider swapping white rice for a pigmented rice (black or red) and/or some riced cauliflower.
- Take hummus (store-bought or homemade) and blend some veggies into it using a hand blender. You can do it with cooked kale, canned beets or even cooked carrots. Use nutrient-dense foods for dipping, like celery or cucumber rather than pita bread.
- Always keep microwavable steam-bags of fresh broccoli or spinach that you can get prepared quickly for any meal.
4. Stay Well-Stocked and Organized
If you want to succeed at eating healthier, you need to be prepared. Once you’ve found the dishes you like, you need to be vigilant about keeping the right ingredients in your fridge.
Plan out your grocery list and commit to cleaning and re-stocking your fridge with the right foods every single week. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Get Tupperware that’s easy to stack and organize. It also helps that the containers are clear, so you can see what’s in them.
- Do a weekly purge of your fridge and throw out everything that you know you’re not going to use.
- Make your shopping list only after you’ve cleared everything out and have an idea of what you need.
5. Follow the Mary Poppins Principle
Image source: Sam Howzit
Mary Poppins has a famous quote “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”. There’s nothing wrong with using a few indulgent ingredients if it means that you’re going to eat a ton of nutrient-dense foods.
For this example, we’ll take a bowl of fresh or frozen spinach. A bunch of raw spinach in a bowl would be hard to eat all by itself. The texture and taste simply aren’t that appetizing for most people. But you can use a small amount of not-so-healthy foods to make it appealing. This method is one of my favorites:
- Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for a few hours or until they soften up.
- Drain the water and blend cashews with a juiced lemon, salt, pepper and some nutritional yeast.
- Blend all the ingredients and cook in a large pan with your spinach.
- Viola! You’ve made yourself a creamed spinach that’s actually good for you!
Although cashews aren’t that nutrient-dense (because they have a lot of calories), they’re a good source of healthy fats and will help you absorb all the nutrients in the spinach. Plus, it makes the spinach a heck of a lot more delicious!
To Wrap It Up
See? Eating more nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits isn’t that hard, it’s simply a matter of finding dishes you love and changing your habits. After you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll probably start to come up with your own set of tips and tricks. Take it one step at a time and enjoy the journey to a healthier life.
Want to go on a detox retreat but don’t want to break the bank? Try an affordable detox retreat and help your body get rid of all toxins from junk food.