10 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Nutrition

Here are Nutrition Diva's 10 easy ways to add some extra nutritional oomph to your favorite foods and meals.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #304

In keeping with the ethic of Quick and Dirty Tips, this week's topic is easy ways to upgrade the nutritional quality of your diet. I'm not talking about putting butter in your coffee or curing your own wild game or grinding your own sprouted flour.

Instead, today I will give you 10 simple tweaks to regular foods and meals that, when practiced consistently, can really make a difference in your overall nutrition.

How many of these can you incorporate into your regular routine? 


Easy Upgrade #1: Spread Your Bread with Protein

I don't usually eat bread for breakfast but if I do decide to have toast or a bagel, I try to spread it with nut butter instead of butter or cream cheese. That way, at least I'm getting some extra fiber, protein, and healthy fats for the same number of calories.

See also: Nutty Nutrition Tips


Easy Upgrade #2: Go Greek

Choose plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt and get twice the protein, which usually translates into more time before you get hungry again.

I know Greek yogurt is more expensive than regular yogurt, but because it saves me from needing a mid-morning snack, I figure it all comes out in the wash. 

See also: Fermented and Cultured Foods


Easy Upgrade #3: Grate Your Way to Greatness

I don't make muffins or pancakes as often as I used to on the weekends because I'm trying to regulate the amount of sugar in my diet. But when I do haul out the griddle or muffin pan, I also get out the vegetable grater and grate a raw carrot or zucchini or two into the batter for added moistness and a little extra vegetable nutrition. 

See also: Harvest Pancake Recipe and Pumpkin Pancakes


Easy Upgrade #4: Milk it for All It's Worth

If you're making oatmeal or any other hot cereal, use milk or soymilk instead of water. Alternatively, you can also stir a scoop of powdered milk or whey protein powder into water. Not only does it make the cereal extra creamy but you also up the ante in terms of protein and calcium. 

See also: An Inexpensive Alternative to Protein Powder


Easy Upgrade #5: Look for Greener Pastures

When choosing salad greens, zero in on the darker varieties. In addition to being more flavorful, they are more nutritious.

I often buy hearts of romaine lettuce - I'm sure you've seen them in the grocery - because they seem to keep so well in the fridge. But if you look at a few packages, you'll see that the lettuce ranges from almost white to dark green. Go for the darkest ones you can find. Likewise, at the salad bar, skip the pale, flavorless lettuce and go for the spring mix, mesclun, and baby spinach. 

See also: Ask the Diva: Are Outer Lettuce Leaves More Nutritious Than Inner Ones?


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.