Nutrient Dense Foods

Eat to Live Recipes

Discover how to add nutrient dense foods into your diet on a daily basis. Dr. Fuhrman says that “Health = Nutrients/Calories”. Otherwise… if we want radiant health, we have to eat foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Eating nutrient dense foods will help give us energy and prevent many diseases: like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Most people look at just the macro nutrients. (Calories, Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.) But many studies have shown that it is the vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that is within our food that prevents diseases and make us feel alive. But unfortunately, many of us eat too many empty calorie foods.

How can we make sure to eat more nutrient dense foods?


I really like the book “Eat Right America” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He lists foods according to their nutrient density. 1000 points is the highest nutrient per calorie, and 0 is the lowest.

Dark greens (like kale and collard greens) are of course at the top of the list at 1,000. Spinach is at 739. Cabbage is 481. Red peppers are at 420. Romaine lettuce is 389. Iceberg lettuce is 110.

Fruits have lower points as they contain more calories than green vegetables. But they contain a whole rainbow of antioxidants and phytochemicals that we can’t be without.

The highest rated fruit is strawberries at 212. Blackberries are 178. Blueberries are 130. A banana is 30.

But when we get to processed foods, the numbers go down fast. Banana bread is 8 points. Blueberry muffin is 10 points. Mac and cheese is 16. Pizza is 13 points. French Fries are 7. Chicken Sandwich is 11. Cheeseburger is 15.

Meats are low in numbers as well.

Do we have to avoid all low nutrient foods?


If all we ate were foods rated at 1,000 points, it would be hard to reach 500 calories in a whole day! What I’m suggesting is that we need to focus on adding more nutrient dense foods into our day… maybe even replacing the lower rated foods with healthier options.

Empty calorie foods contain a lot of calories with hardly any nutrients. For instance… soda, donuts, cookies, candy bars, etc are packed with empty calories. Try finding more foods packed with nutrients. Eat to Live smoothie recipes are a terrific option to replace those foods.

Think how many points you may eat in a day. I’m sure that many Americans don’t eat more than a few hundred points in a whole day. Just think if you drink a green smoothie a day. Kale (1000), Banana (30), Blueberries (100), and Pineapple (30). That’s 1160 points in one smoothie! Yummy and nutritious! That doesn’t include everything else that you’ll eat throughout the day.So let’s get down to business and start blending some of these nutrient dense smoothies. :)

Spinach Berry Green Smoothie

At the beginning... I would blend a spinach berry green smoothie. Why not a nutrient dense kale smoothie? Well, kale has a strong flavor and is not for beginners. I found it took me about a month of drinking smoothies to actually like the flavor of kale.

I would rather you and your family love drinking green smoothies with spinach than no smoothies at all. Even though spinach is rated lower… you’ll still get more nutrients in one smoothie than most people get in a whole day.

Eat to Live Recipes

Tropical Berry Green Smoothie

1 large banana, ripe and peeled

3/4 cup pineapple, fresh or canned

4-8 oz spinach, fresh

1 cup blueberries, frozen

3/4 cup mango, frozen

3 ice cubes

1 packet of stevia or 1 dropper full of berry stevia

1 1/4 cup pure water

Pour water in first. Then place the banana and pineapple closest to the blade with the rest of the ingredients on top. Blend until smooth.

Serves 1-2

My sons are allergic to cow’s milk. So I have learned to make my own nut milks at home. It is quite convenient. I don’t have to run to the store last minute to buy milk anymore. I just blend up my milk whenever I need it.

I usually use almonds. But you don’t have to use almonds either. You can use rice, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, even oat milk. Speaking of sesame seeds… There is actually more calcium in 2 T of Tahini butter (Sesame butter) than one cup of milk!

Many times people strain their milk after blending. But if I’m making a smoothie or waffles, I like to get the extra fiber. So I do not strain my homemade milks, unless I'm going to drink it in a glass.

The next smoothie that we’re going to talk about is a Macadamia Nut Smoothie. I love nut smoothies! If you compare a nut shake with a milk shake, you’ll see all of the benefits. There are natural sugars, fiber, and antioxidants. And I can add supplements to make the smoothie even healthier. Plus, nut shakes do not contain the harmful chemicals that are usually in a milk shakes at a restaurant.

The sweeteners that I like to use are dates and vanilla flavored stevia. The creamy texture comes from the nuts, dates, psyllium powder.

One tip to blending a creamy smoothie is to soak the dates and nuts for an hour prior to blending. Also I like to blend everything without the ice first. Then add the ice and blend again.

Macadamia Cream Shake

1/3 cup raw Macadamia Nuts or cashews

4-8 dates, soaked in the water (amount depending on your desire of sweetness)

1 dropper full vanilla Stevia

1 tablespoon raw cacao

1/2 tablespoon of psyllium husk powder

1 cup water

10-12 ice cubes

First, blend the cashews, dates, stevia, cacao, and water. Then, add the ice and blend on high until smooth. Serves 1-2

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