Nutrition Consultant Danielle Male Shares Five Foundational Foods to Support Health

Danielle Moyer
Danielle Male

Are you curious to learn more about some foods you eat daily? Are you interested in learning fun facts about food that will inspire you to add more healthy food to your diet?

Danielle Male, instructor in our Nutrition Consultant Online Program, reveals five foundational foods to support health along with a bonus recipe for dairy-free pesto.

Find the five foods along with the recipe below.

You can also learn more about Danielle Male and our other amazing instructors by visiting our faculty page.

Many foundational whole-foods foods can support your health in a variety of ways.

Look at this list below, and see how many you eat routinely:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Fermented foods
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Avocado
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cold water fish
  • Olives
  • Coconut
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Herbal teas
  • Spices (ex: ginger, turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon)

Have you ever wondered why these are so healthy? (Remember, what may be beneficial to someone else may not be right for you.)  

Much of it comes back to increasing your daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals, supporting your gut and brain, and lowering inflammation in the body. The foods listed hold various beneficial properties, such as being an excellent source of fiber, probiotics, healthy fats, polyphenols, and antioxidants.

  1. Fiber: A nondigestible carbohydrate that supports gut health and immune health
  2. Probiotics: Foods that contain beneficial bacteria that promote gut health and brain health
  3. Healthy fats: Promote brain performance and satiation after a meal
  4. Polyphenols: Plant compounds that lower inflammation, support hormone levels, and act as antioxidants
  5. Antioxidants: Compounds that can lower internal stress (also known as oxidative stress) in the body

Knowing the “why” behind a food choice can make you feel confident and proud of your decision to eat it.

Here is an easy recipe to add some nutritional benefits to your meal and integrate some foundational foods:

Danielle’s Easy Dairy-Free Pesto

Dairy-Free Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil
    • Note: You can replace basil with whatever herbs/greens you have on deck. Consider arugula, kale, cilantro, mint, dill, sage, chives, or parsley. You can mix/match over time too. Parsley or basil (alone or combined) is my personal favorite.
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
    • Note: You can replace pine nuts with pepitas, pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds. Walnuts are my personal favorite.
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add the herbs, nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper into a food processor or blender. Blend on high until it is consistent throughout. It will be thick.
  2. Add the olive oil slowly and pulse until it is combined. You can have the food processor running while drizzling in the olive oil, or you can blend it in every few seconds or so.
  3. Taste and assess! If you want a “cheesier” flavor, add nutritional yeast. If it is too thick, add some water or more olive oil.

Pesto stores in the fridge for 2 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for 2 months.

Creative ways to use pesto, which adds delicious flavor and nutritional benefits to meals:

  • Add it to your soups
  • Spread it on your sandwiches
  • Drizzle onto your roasted vegetables
  • Put it on pizza
  • Spread it on your chicken or fish
  • Stuff it in chicken
  • Put it on your eggs
  • Use it as a topper for grilled meats/vegetables
  • Put it in baked goods
  • Make it a “dip” with yogurt for vegetables
  • Of course, put it on pasta!

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