Get my base oatmeal recipe HERE
Learn more about seed cycling HERE
Learn more about salmon HERE
Listen to episode 17 about my hair test results HERE
Sign up for Butcher Box HERE
I want to give a quick shoutout to an anonymous listener of the podcast for the review they left last week: “I found your podcast and I literally feel like we are the same person. I don’t have any of the training that you do but being well nourished in all areas and being intentional about doing things and basically everything you’re talking about is exactly what I stand for and wish for my family. Thank you so much for what you do and I hope you never stop.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot fill from an empty cup. As the mom, you have to prioritize your nutrition so that you’re physically capable, mentally present, and emotionally stable for yourself and your family. Plain and simple.
Furthermore, you are the building block of your baby; when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, baby is relying on you to grow and develop properly. Being intentional with your diet is essential for baby’s success and your long-term health.
Superfoods are a casual nutrition term that simply implies that specific foods are extra nutrient dense. While you probably recognize that fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains are nourishing foods, there are a handful of foods that are literally LOADED with vitamins, minerals, and important nutrients for your health.
Your body relies on a multitude of nutrients to function properly each day, and most of them are only available through our diet. This is why eating a variety of foods is so important - you want to try and get all the different nutrients each day.
A superfood is a food that has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients all in one food, so it essentially makes your life a bit easier when trying to get all your essential nutrients in each day. Incorporating superfoods into your daily routine will save you time, money, and mental load!
Before we dive into the five superfoods I think every mom should be eating, I want to remind you that there are so many amazing foods out there, and just because they’re not on this list, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eating them. I also want to remind you that while all the nutrition information about these foods is factual, my opinion about them being in the top 5 is just that - an opinion. I’m sure my other dietitian and nutritionist friends’ lists might be slightly different, so the key here is considering what you like, what your nutritional needs are, and what your budget is.
Lastly, I’ll be mentioning tons of recipes in today’s episode, so if you hear one that sounds yummy, head to today’s episode page on the blog and scroll through the transcript. I thought about just putting them all in the shownotes but that would make the shownotes a mile long, so just scroll through the transcript. The transcript is available at www.thewellnourishedmama.com/podcast/18.
Originally I had pumpkin seeds on my list, then I thought, “but there’s also chia seeds and hemp seeds…” so I just decided the first “superfood” is a food group.
Seeds are little tiny nutrient powerhouses that are so versatile to use in your diet. They’re predominantly rich in fat, either omega-3 or omega-6 fats, and are also a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. Depending on the seed, you’ll also get a variety of minerals, too.
Let’s talk about my three favorite seeds. First, pumpkin seeds. These are also known as pepitas and you can buy them at almost any grocery store, although the quality will vary by brand. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up buying pumpkin seeds that have been roasted in inflammatory oils and tons of refined salt, so if you can avoid those, I would. Try to find a bag of plain pumpkin seeds or pepitas.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and vitamin D absorption. They’re also quite high in manganese, a mineral that helps metabolize other essential nutrients; copper, a mineral that helps form red blood cells and collagen; and other minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.
Moving on to chia seeds, these little seeds are one of the best plant based sources of iron and protein. In just 1 tablespoon, you get about 6% of your daily intake of iron and 2.4g of protein, which is incredible, given the serving size. Chia seeds are also incredibly rich in fiber, and if any of my clients struggle with constipation, my recommendation is adding just one tablespoon of chia seeds to their diet each day. Other nutrients you’ll find in chia seeds are calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fats.
I find that unless you have a blender like a vitamix, you won’t be able to truly blend the chia seeds into smoothies, and the texture can be offputting to some people. I usually add them to my oatmeal, whether it’s overnight oats or warm oatmeal. My favorite smoothie recipes with chia seeds are my adrenal smoothie and my chocolate peanut butter smoothie bowl.
Lastly, we have hemp seeds. These are less well known, and a little less versatile in my opinion, but still incredibly nutrient dense. Of all the seeds, they are the highest in protein. In 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds, you get over 3g protein, which is about 30% more than chia seeds. They’re also a complete protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids. However, they are lower in fiber, with only 0.4g per tablespoon compared to 3.2g per tablespoon of chia seeds.
Hemp seeds are also a good source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant; omega-6 fats, which nurture your hair, skin, and reproductive hormones; and zinc, a critical mineral for your immune system. An amazing recipe of mine that uses hemp seeds is my raspberry peanut butter smoothie; it basically tastes like a PB&J but with a little more tart in it, and it’s packed with over 30g of protein.
One thing I should mention is that there is next to no THC in raw hemp seeds, so they’re totally safe to eat, even for babies and toddlers.
With all of these seeds, you can blend them into smoothies, sprinkle on toast, mix into oatmeal, and toss into salads. Get creative with how you incorporate them!
Oh, and one more thing before we move onto superfood number two: another reason you should consider having seeds in your diet regularly is seed cycling. This is a concept that comes from functional medicine and it talks about rotating the type of seeds you eat based on your menstrual cycle to support your hormones.
The really really short cliff notes version is that you eat seeds higher in omega-3s during your follicular phase and seeds higher in omega-6 fats during your luteal phase. This could easily be an entire 60 minute podcast episode on its own, so I won’t dive into that here, but if you want to learn more, I highly recommend reading an article written by my friend Jessica from Nourished By Nutrition. I’ll link it in the shownotes and the transcript.
Eggs have gotten lots of hate over the years, so let’s set the record straight. They are 100% a superfood and incredibly nutritious. Plain and simple.
Why do some people consider them “not healthy?” Their cholesterol content. But what most people don’t realize is that 1) we need cholesterol to build cell membranes, hormones, and produce vitamin D, and 2) there’s two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” that clogs your arteries, and HDL cholesterol helps clear out the excess cholesterol so it doesn’t go to your arteries.
A number of randomized controlled trials found that “[when] comparing egg-based breakfasts and egg-free meals… cholesterol did increase in the egg-breakfast groups. However, the LDL-to-HDL ratio — a biomarker commonly used to assess heart disease risk — remained unchanged” (Healthline article). That being said, decades of research still points to conflicting conclusions about eggs and cholesterol, so I think you should eat them if you like them and focus on all the nutrients they do have.
One of the most notable nutrients in eggs is choline, which most women know is really important for pregnancy, but choline is for everyone! It helps maintain the integrity of the cell membrane, develop specific neurotransmitters, and remove the bad cholesterol from your liver. (sidenote: how freaking cool is it that eggs have both cholesterol AND a nutrient that removes the bad cholesterol too?)
Eggs are also a great source of omega-3 fats, B vitamins, and selenium. You can eat them scrambled, hard boiled, fried, or baked into things. Some of my favorite egg recipes are my high protein egg muffins, my huevos rancheros enchiladas, and my egg roll in a bowl.
One last comment before we move on from eggs: EAT THE WHOLE FREAKING EGG. All the nutrients I mentioned (besides protein) are in the yolk and because it is 2024, we are no longer operating under the guise that fat makes you fat. So freaking eat the yolk.
I thought about doing a berries category like I did for the seeds, but I want to specifically highlight blueberries. These little guys are nutritional powerhouses! They are low in calories, high in water content, and rich with antioxidants. Blueberries are also a great source of vitamin K1, which is required for bloodclotting; vitamin C, which protects the immune system; and manganese, which is required for nutrient metabolism.
Fun fact: wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidants as regular blueberries, so if you ever have the chance to buy wild blueberries, whether fresh or frozen, choose those!
Some of my favorite ways to eat blueberries are in smoothies like my blueberry crisp smoothie, mixed into oatmeal, and on top of greek yogurt. I also love my baked salmon with blueberry sauce, blueberry banana oatmeal muffins, and lemon blueberry granola.
I. LOVE. QUINOA. It is so underutilized in my opinion and if it works with my meal, I’ll always choose quinoa over rice. Here’s why:
I also love quinoa because, for me personally, it digests better and sits better with me. I have a hard time with rice, so I opt for quinoa instead.
Some of my favorite recipes that use quinoa are my pomegranate quinoa arugula salad, garlic parmesan chicken bowls, and my sheet pan sausage and veggies. Another sneaky way I like to use quinoa is with my oatmeal, whether it’s hot oatmeal or cold overnight oats. Quinoa adds some bulk and some more nutrients without using more oats and it doesn’t really change the flavor!
I saved my favorite superfood for last: salmon. If I could wave a magic wand and make everyone like salmon, I would. I’m truly sorry if you’re not a fish person because if I could choose ONE food from this list that you should eat, I would choose salmon.
First of all, salmon is an incredible source of omega-3 fats, which promote brain, heart, and hormone health. It’s also high in all the B vitamins, notably folate, vitamin D, and all the electrolyte minerals like potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Lastly, salmon is a great source of protein, with over 20g per 4oz. serving.
One of the reasons I put salmon at the top of my superfood list is because of how it supports the thyroid. Salmon is high in zinc, a mineral that is required to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone); iodine, which is the building block of T4 and T3; and selenium, a mineral that helps convert the thyroid hormone T4 into T3.
After taking my hair tissue mineral analysis test (an HTMA test), I discovered that my thyroid was struggling, so I started incorporating more salmon in my diet than I already was and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel since then. If you want to learn more about my hair test results, check out episode 17 linked in the shownotes.
If you want to learn more about salmon, I actually wrote a comparative blog post about the similarities and differences between salmon and tilapia and I got really nerdy about it, so you’ll learn a ton from there. I’ll link it in the shownotes.
Now, I know that salmon isn’t the cheapest meat on the market, and that’s one of the main reasons I didn’t regularly eat salmon for years. But then I found an affordable way to do it: if you want to incorporate more salmon into your diet without breaking the bank, you need to sign up for Butcher Box!
Butcher Box is a meat subscription company that delivers the highest quality meats right to your door each month for a flat price. I’m talking meats like grass-fed beef, organic pasture-raised chicken, and wild caught fish. I did the math and with today’s economy, I’m actually saving money using Butcher Box because I’m getting just as much meat for the same price each month as if I shopped at Walmart, but I’m getting the best quality meat AND I don’t have to physically buy the meat in person.
I’m not partnered with Butcher Box, but I do have a referral link that gets us both $50, so if you’re interested in Butcher Box, head to the shownotes and use my link to check them out!