Nutrient Dense Foods: 20 to Add to Your Diet Today!

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

nutrient dense foods

Choosing nutrient-dense foods allows you to maintain high energy levels, have good workouts, meet your body's daily nutritional needs, and maintain a healthy weight.

Nutrient-dense foods are those that contain tons of the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Examples include protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants, and probiotics.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods ensures you consume quality calories and makes you less hungry for “empty calorie foods.”

Knowing which nutrient-dense foods to pick and which to foods avoid is important to maximize your health and wellness!

Keep reading to learn the 20 nutrient-dense foods to add to your diet!

Learn everything you need to know about eating right with our Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating for Women!

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Women)

As a busy women, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy women 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

20 Nutrient-Dense Foods to Add to Your Diet

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods on the planet and offers numerous benefits for women.

This superfood is loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin B12, iodine, magnesium, other micronutrients, and probiotics, which keep your gut, brain, and immune system healthy.

Greek yogurt contains less sugar and total carbs than regular yogurt.

The protein and calcium in Greek yogurt enhance bone health, muscle development and maintenance, and healthy teeth, skin, hair, and nails.

Women should consume three servings of dairy foods, including Greek yogurt, milk, soy milk, cottage cheese, or kefir, daily to maximize their health.

Top Greek yogurt with berries, nuts, seeds, or shredded coconut.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is beneficial for women, especially those over 40, for numerous reasons.

It's loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, heart-healthy fats, and other essential nutrients.

Isoflavones found in soy have properties similar to estrogen, which naturally declines with aging in women.

Studies show that women who drink soy milk experience improved muscle and bone density, as well as and lower body weights.

Because of its composition, you can drink soy milk in place of regular milk and count it as a serving from the dairy foods group.

Drink soy milk with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Eat whole-grain cereal with soy milk, mix it with your coffee, or use it to make homemade protein smoothies.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is another nutrient-dense food, mainly because of its high protein content.

One cup of cottage cheese provides nearly 30 grams of high-quality protein.

It's also rich in calcium, B vitamins, phosphorous, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals.

Because of its protein and calcium content, cottage cheese helps you maintain strong muscles, bones, and teeth, and aids in healthy weight management.

Studies show that consuming dairy foods regularly can increase lean body mass, reduce body fat and weight gain, and lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Eat cottage cheese with fruit or nuts as a nutrient-dense snack!


Poultry, especially chicken, turkey, and duck, are nutrient-dense, protein-rich foods that can boost satiety, aid in healthy weight management, and promote muscle maintenance.

Three ounces of poultry contain 25-30 grams of protein.

Poultry is also rich in iron, zinc, and B vitamins, and is a fairly low-calorie food.

Aim to eat at least one protein-rich food, such as poultry, at each meal.

Make chicken, turkey, or duck your main course or add it to soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, rice dishes, or casseroles!

Meet Burn RX. The Safe & Effective Metabolism Booster To Help You See Faster Results

Burn RX is for women who are working on losing weight and want to see faster and easier results from their eating & exercise efforts. It helps your body burn more fat before, during, and after your workouts, which will improve your body composition while boosting your energy + metabolism.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon and canned light tuna, are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet for several reasons.

They are packed with protein, brain-boosting omega-3 fats, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, zinc, iodine, and other essential micronutrients.

Eating fish on a regular basis may help lower blood pressure and your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week.

Make oily fish your main course or add fish to tacos, salads, soups, or grilled veggie kabobs.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, and oatmeal, are packed with fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Examples include B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium, antioxidants, and other disease-fighting plant components.

Studies show that eating whole grains daily helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gastric, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers.

Due to the fiber content of whole grains, they also help reduce high cholesterol and aid in healthy weight management when eaten in place of refined grains (such as white bread and white rice).

Add oatmeal to protein smoothies, eat whole-grain cereal for breakfast, or make whole grain rice or quinoa part of your main course.


Avocados are packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.

Choosing avocados helps you feel full, reduces junk-food cravings, improves heart health, and makes your hair, skin, and nails healthy.

Studies show that avocados support a healthy heart, healthy aging, and weight management.

Add avocados to your meal plan by eating them with soups, salads, stir fry, omelets, whole-grain toast, chicken, fish, sandwiches, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, or any other favorite main course!

Plant Oils

Like avocados, plant oils are loaded with heart-healthy fats, vitamin K, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.

These oils boost satiety, enhance heart health, and help you maintain ideal body weight.

Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, can protect you against certain diseases and their risk factors.

Examples include obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.

Use plant-based oils in sauces, soups, salads, dressings, roasted or sauteed veggies, stir fry, casseroles, or other favorite main dishes.

Add hummus, which usually contains olive oil and heart-healthy chickpeas, to your meal plan.

Meet Heart RX. The Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Healthy Circulation Support For Women 40+

Heart RX is for women who are taking (or have taken) medication for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Heart RX will provide you with the natural support to improve all aspects of your heart health – including: blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and better circulation.

Nutrient-Dense Fruits

All fresh fruits are good sources of fiber and vitamins, but certain types of nutrient-dense fruits are especially beneficial.

Studies show that pineapple has anti-obesity effects and enhances fat-burning.

Additional examples of some of the healthiest fruits on the planet include antioxidant-rich blueberries, watermelon, fresh cherries, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas, and blackberries.

Aim to eat fruit at least twice daily.

Top cereal, oatmeal, whole-grain waffles or pancakes, salads, or Greek yogurt with nutrient-dense fruits.

Add fresh fruits to protein smoothies made with plant milk, ice, and protein powder.

Eat fresh or dried fruit for a between-meal or pre-workout snack!

Colorful Vegetables

All fresh vegetables are healthy for you because they're loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other disease-fighting plant compounds.

Choose spinach, kale, or other leafy greens, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and green beans.

Bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini are also good non-starchy vegetable options, as they're loaded with nutrients but low in calories.

Natural Nut Butters

Natural nut butters are a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Examples include vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.

Natural nut butters fill you up and keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy.

Spread nut butter (such as peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter) over sliced apples, banana slices, whole-grain bread, or fresh celery sticks.

Add nut butter to protein shakes too!

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense foods for a variety of reasons.

They are packed with vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, manganese, protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

While high in calories, nuts and seeds don't contribute to weight gain.

In fact, studies show that nuts help control appetite, boost your metabolism, improve body composition, and decrease your risk of obesity.

Eat nuts between meals, blend them into protein smoothies, or add them to salads, Greek yogurt, whole-grain cereal, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or trail mix!

The Immune Booster Women 40+ Are Using To Kill Viruses & Feel Younger…

As women age, our immune systems get weaker. It’s a fact. After 40, you become more vulnerable to viruses, cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Average women just let this all happen. But now, with Immune Booster RX, you can take the power back.


Legumes include peas, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, soybeans, and more.

They are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you'll find as legumes are packed with protein, fiber, iron, zinc, folate, B vitamins, potassium, and other micronutrients.

Because of the high fiber content of legumes, they can reduce high cholesterol and your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

There are many ways you can enjoy legumes as part of a heart-healthy, nutrient-dense meal plan.

Add legumes to soups, salads, stir fry, casseroles, omelets, brown or wild rice, quinoa, and veggie burritos.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a source of energy-producing carbohydrates, as well as fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and other essential micronutrients.

Vitamin A is crucial for proper immune function, good eyesight, reproduction, and other essential body functions.

Consume sweet potatoes as a side dish or mix them with salads, soups, and casseroles.

Grill, roast, or bake sweet potatoes, or try a nutritious sweet potato chips recipe!

Meet Joint RX. The Advanced Joint Support, Recovery Aid, Inflammation & Pain Reducer for Women

Joint RX is for women feeling the aches of getting older and want a research-backed supplement to feel better & move younger. It will help reduce pain in your problem areas and help you workout with less pain. Joint RX increases your body's natural joint lubrication to boost your healing and recovery.


While high in calories, coconut is loaded with fiber, healthy fats, manganese, selenium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and numerous other essential micronutrients.

The fiber in coconut keeps high cholesterol and heart disease risks in check.

It also boosts satiety and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Coconut milk is often fortified with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and B vitamins.

Add coconut or coconut milk to protein shakes, try coconut as a between-meal snack, or eat shredded coconut with trail mix, whole-grain cereal, or Greek yogurt.

Avoid coconut products sweetened with added sugar.


Hummus is made of chickpeas and plant oils, such as olive oil or soybean oil.

It's a good source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, folate, manganese, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and other essential micronutrients.

Hummus boosts satiety, which means it keeps you full for longer time periods.

It tastes delicious with sliced veggies, dried veggie sticks, and whole-grain toast!

The Natural Hormone Balancer Busy Women 40+ Are Using For Improved Mood, Sleep, Skin, Stress & Easier Weight Loss

At around 40, most women's hormone levels begin a “rollercoaster' ride, which eventually culminates in menopause. You feel tired all the time. It's hard to lose weight. Your body doesn't respond to diet and exercise like it used to. But now, it doesn't have to be that way for you…


Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein.

They provide 6 grams of protein per egg, as well as vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins.

Eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, in an omelet, or hard-boiled as a snack.

Top salads and sandwiches with sliced hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs into rice dishes, make French toast with eggs and whole-grain bread, or add eggs to your favorite casserole!


Shrimp, as long as it's not fried, is low in calories and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Shrimp contains just over 80 calories in each 3-ounce portion, as well as 18 grams of high-quality protein.

Shrimp is also a good source of iodine, iron, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorous, niacin, zinc, and magnesium.

Add shrimp to grilled veggie kabobs, soups, salads, stir fry, or whole-grain pasta or rice dishes.

Or, eat shrimp as an appetizer!

mother PROGRAM

Fit Mother Project is the first sustainable weight loss program designed exclusively for busy mothers just like you...




FM30X is the first sustainable weight loss program designed exclusively for *busy* mothers like you...

Learn More  >

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains much less sugar than milk chocolate, and it's loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.

Some of the many beneficial nutrients found in dark chocolate include iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, potassium, and phosphorous.

Top Greek yogurt with dark chocolate, add dark chocolate to coffee, mix it with trail mix, or eat dark chocolate as a dessert in place of less nutritious sweet treats!

Green Tea

Green tea is a nutrient-dense drink that's loaded with catechins, which are disease-fighting antioxidants.

Green tea contains just 5 calories per serving and offers numerous health benefits.

Studies show that drinking green tea and its catechins can reduce your risk of breast, lung, stomach, esophageal, prostate, and liver cancers.

Additional benefits linked with green tea consumption include a higher metabolism, increases in fat-burning, improved brain functioning, weight loss, a longer lifespan, and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Drink green tea with breakfast, lunch, or between meals.

Or, add green tea or matcha powder to protein shakes!

Try this simple strategy to help you eat healthily more often!

Planning Nutrient-Dense Meals for Women

When planning healthy meals containing nutrient-dense foods, choose a variety of foods from each of the main food groups: protein foods, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, starches (whole grains, legumes, and other starchy veggies), dairy foods or plant milk, and heart-healthy fats.

Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with protein foods and fiber-rich starches.

Eat three servings of dairy foods or calcium-rich plant milk, plus two servings of fruit daily.

Add in healthy fats, such as avocados, nut butters, nuts, seeds, olive oil, or coconut, to each meal.

To lose weight, get fit, maintain a healthy lifestyle, or boost energy, consider trying the Fit Mother Project healthy living plan designed for busy moms of all ages.

Upon joining you receive custom meal plans, fat-burning workouts, motivational and health coaching support, weekly newsletters, recipes, and more!

In addition to adding nutrient-dense foods to daily menus, try the free Fit Mom Jumpstart today!

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Fit Mother Project is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside the program, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother Project workouts to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on nutrient-dense foods.

Join Fit Father 30X

The World’s First Weight Loss Program for Men 40+

Lose Weight. Keep it Off.

Fit Mother Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
  6. Above all, we are a community of likeminded men and women committed to living healthier. We do not advocate any health advice that we wouldn’t personally implement with our families. Because as far as we’re concerned, you’re our family too.

Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

– The Fit Mother Project Team


Terms of Service & Privacy Policy