Simple & fun strategies to add more nutrition to the food you already eat like adding nuts and seeds, greens, a side salad and trying a new vegetable or fruit.
If I were to ask you right now what’s something you could do to improve your diet, would you answer with one of the following?
- exclude desserts
- remove gluten and dairy
- exclude sugary drinks
- exclude sugar in general
- eat less
- stop eating after dinner
- limit carbs
Do you see what all of these things have in common? They’re all about removing, excluding, limiting and restricting you from something in your diet. While, yes excluding sugary drinks is a way to make your diet healthier, taking things out of your diet is not the only way to improve the quality of your diet.
Through the media and diet culture we’ve been conditioned to think that improving our diets is synonymous with removing something that’s in them and today I want to talk about how changing that perspective can help better your relationship with food and simultaneously improve the quality of your diet.
Adding things into your diet to add more nutrition to the foods you already eat is a small strategy that can have a huge impact when it comes to your overall nutrition and your journey to healthy eating. It’s also way less overwhelming than overhauling your entire diet and can introduce new foods that you might end up loving to your diet.
By focusing on what you can add to your diet to make it more balanced and nutritious instead of all the things you have to take out, you’re taking a more positive approach to food and eating that is mentally more enjoyable as well. It’s one of the pillars of my approach to eating called food confidence. More on that to come!
Here are a couple of ways to add more nutrition to the food you already eat that are simple and any one can do. These things are so easy that once you start putting them into practice, you won’t even realize that you’re doing them!
Ways to Add More Nutrition to the Foods You Already Eat
- Add Nuts & Seeds
- Add a Handful of Greens
- Add a Side Salad
- Add a New Fruit or Vegetable
- Add Nuts & Seeds. Think nuts on a salad or paired with fruit as a snack, or a tablespoon of ground flax seed in your morning smoothie. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats, aka omega-3s. Small but mighty when it comes to nutrition, they’re easy to use in a bunch of different ways boosting your food with more nutrition per bite. I like sprinkling hemp seeds on top of my peanut butter toast and using chopped nuts as a coating for fish!
- Add a Handful of Greens. We often buy a big container of greens with the best intentions to use it up and it ends up wilted and sad at the end of the week in our fridge — ugh it happens to me too! Commit to adding a handful of greens to things like stir fry, smoothies, omelets, etc. Liven up leftovers with a handful of greens or a green base that you can put them on top of. The small ritual of adding a handful of greens to things you’re already eating is a great way to add more vitamin C, A, K, fiber and antioxidants to your diet every day.
- Add a Side Salad. Side salads don’t have to be synonymous with boring. In fact, pairing a simple side salad with something you’re already eating like pizza, pasta or leftovers is a great way to add more nutrition to your diet, round out your meal with fiber from vegetables and use up produce before it goes bad. Win, Win — win! I love this Mediterranean chickpea salad that goes with everything.
- Add a New Fruit or Veggie. The next time you go grocery shopping I want you to pick out one fruit or vegetable that you haven’t tried before or thought you didn’t like (tastebuds change and evolve!) and try alongside something you typically eat. Expanding our palate is one of the best things we can do for our health. Not only is trying something new mentally stimulating, but it also introduces another way to get more nutrition into our bodies. You could end up loving whatever you just tried which could inspire you to try something else or be more open to new foods when you go out to eat. All positive things! Research has shown that people who eat upwards of 30 different types of plant foods a week (fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, grains, etc) have a more diverse microbiome which as we know is connected to so many different parts of our health including immunity, mood, digestion and more.
Which one of these ways to add more nutrition to the food you already eat feels the most doable in your life?
If you’re not already, I’d love for you to join the Once Upon a Pumpkin community on Instagram. Here’s a reel I recently made on this topic.
If you’re hungry for more check out these posts and some of my favorite recipes below!
- 5 Ways to Have More Confidence in Your Food Choices
- 15 Best Pantry Staples for Healthy Meals
- Healthy Trader Joe’s Food + Shopping List
My current favorite fun & healthy recipes: