How To: Add Vitamin D into Your Diet Through Food

If you have been following along over the past few weeks, you know we have been diving into the research on five of the most well-supported nutrients for mental health optimization. These nutrients included what we call the “five well-being warriors”: vitamin D, omega-3, zinc, magnesium, and the B-vitamins. So, if you’re new to the blog and would like more information on what specifically these nutrients do and how they perform in the body to foster a better mental health status, we encourage you to go back and review the previous posts!

Moving forward, we are going to spend the next five weeks continuing to focus on these nutrients. However, this time around, we are going to be doing so in a more specific and action-oriented way – through recipe and snack ideas to help increase your intake of each of these vital nutrients through food!

A Brief Recap of Where Vitamin D is Found

Some of the richest vitamin D sources in the human diet include:

  • Seafood such as trout, salmon, tuna and sardines
  • Mushrooms, raw white and exposed to UV rays
  • Fortified dairy and non-dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fortified orange juice
  •  Eggs

Breakfasts to Increase Vitamin D

Mushroom & cheese omelet served with whole grain toast 1 serving

Offers ~100 IU of vitamin D, or 10% of the daily recommended intake 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, rinsed and chopped coarsely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp fortified milk*
  • 1 tbsp chives, minced
  • 3 tbsp cheddar cheese
  1. In a small pan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent, then add in the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until mushrooms soft (~5 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with the milk until well combined and the eggs start to get frothy.
  3. Pour the eggs into the pan and cook over low heat, with a lid, until the top begins to firm, then add the cheese to the top and allow it to melt.
  4. Once cooked through, serve with chives on top and enjoy!

1 glass of fortified orange juice to accompany your breakfast 

Offers ~100 IU of vitamin D, or 10% of the daily recommended intake 

1 glass of fortified milk (cow or non-dairy) to accompany your breakfast

Offers ~100 IU of vitamin D, or 10% of the daily recommended intake 

Entrees to Increase Vitamin D

Baked salmon served with asparagus and roasted potatoes

4 servings

Each serving offers ~1000 IU of vitamin D, or 100% of the daily recommended intake


  • 1 pound baby potatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp dill, fresh – or 1 tbsp dried
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 bunches of asparagus, hard ends trimmed
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the potatoes with the oil, 1/2 tbsp of the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread out on one of the lined baking sheets in an even layer and roast for 25-30 minutes (we will be adding the asparagus and salmon to the oven in the meantime).
  3. On the other lined baking sheet place the salmon on one half, then drizzle each fillet with a little oil and rub them with the remaining garlic, lemon juice and the dill. Add the asparagus to the other side of the pan and drizzle with a little more oil, crack some salt and pepper on top of the salmon and the asparagus.
  4. Add the salmon and asparagus to the oven once the potatoes have been roasting for 15 minutes and bake everything together for an additional 10 minutes (totalling ~25 minutes for everything).
  5. Once the potatoes are soft and the salmon is cooked through, remove everything from the oven and enjoy! 

Garlic mushrooms served with your protein and starch of choice

4 servings

1 serving offers ~80 IU of vitamin D, or 8% of the daily recommended intake


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter or vegan alternative
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups of raw white mushrooms, quartered or halved
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat, then sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Then, add in the mushrooms and cook until soft (~5 minutes).
  3. Stir through thyme, sage, and parsley and mix well to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve with your protein and starch of choice!
  5. Protein ideas: pan fried shrimp, baked chicken breast, tofu
  6. Starch ideas: wild rice, whole grain pasta noodles, baked sweet potato

Snacks to Increase Vitamin D

  • Canned tuna served with whole grain crackers
    1/2 can of tuna offers ~70 IU of vitamin D, or 7% of the daily recommended intake
  • Sardines served with 1 slice of multigrain bread
    1/2 can of sardines offers ~90 IU of vitamin D, or 9% of the daily recommended intake
  • Hard-boiled egg served with veggie sticks
    1 hardboiled egg offers ~40 IU of vitamin D, or 4% of the daily recommended intake

The Bottom Line

There are certainly lots of delicious ways to increase your vitamin D intake through foods, mainly by choosing a variety of seafood products and fortified beverages such as orange juice and milk.

However, just as a reminder, vitamin D is one of the nutrients that North Americans can struggle to get enough of – especially during the fall and winter months! This is because our primary source of vitamin D is the sun. So, we do recommend supplementing with vitamin D (between 400-1000 IU minimally) during the colder months, in order to ensure you are getting enough of this key nutrient.