Easy Ways to Eat More Nutrient-Rich Foods

Updated:Nov 14,2014

woman cooking vegetablesMost people would welcome the suggestion by their healthcare professional to “Eat more!” Of course, this message is in the context of a healthy diet but Americans should certainly be eating more foods containing these nutrients:

  • Potassium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Americans generally don’t get enough of these vitamins and minerals because they don’t meet the recommended intakes of vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and milk products.

To help get the important nutrients needed in your daily meals and snacks, the American Heart Association recommends eating:

  • 4½ servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • 3 or more one-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains/day
  • 2 or more servings (3.5 oz./serving) of fish/week (preferably oily fish)

To help you improve your eating pattern the American Heart Association recommends:

  • Choosing lean meats, skinless chicken and vegetable alternatives
  • Selecting fat-free, low-fat (1%) milk and milk products
  • Limiting saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars

Here are some tips on how to eat the nutrient-rich way and meet the American Heart Association’s recommended servings through delicious food:

  • Eat breakfast
    • Start the day off right! People who eat breakfast (instead of skipping it) generally eat healthier throughout the day
    • Try to include one fiber-rich whole grain, some fruit and some fat-free dairy. Nutrient-rich breakfasts include:
      • Oatmeal with fat-free milk, raisins and cinnamon
      • Whole grain toast with low-fat, low sodium cheese and an apple
      • Fat-free yogurt (no added sugar) topped with frozen blueberries and whole grain cereal (like O-shaped toasted oats)
    • Milk and milk product are rich in calcium, potassium and vitamin D; most fruits and vegetables are sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium and folate; whole grains contain folate and fiber
  • Eat more food (volume) with high-fiber foods
    • Big bowls of soup or stew contain liquids, which help fill you up; foods rich in fiber do, too
    • To find fiber-rich recipes, plug “beans,” or any vegetable into the Search box at heart.org
    • Beans and most vegetables contain potassium, fiber and folate

Article copyright © 2015 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.