There are 13 vitamins out there that are essential. That means your body doesn’t synthesize the compounds either at all or adequately enough to sustain the functions they’re meant to support in your body. Thirteen seems like a big number to fulfill and finding good sources of most of the vitamins can be tricky.

Sure, oranges are a good source of vitamin C. And yes, spinach is a good source of vitamin A. Did you know though that some foods that are packed sources with more of these types of vitamins? These foods are considered nutrient dense, that means they have many important nutrients but not many calories.


Photo by Marlee Goldman

Below you’ll find I have compiled the shortest grocery lists possible that contain foods you can get all 13 essential vitamins form eating. No matter your dietary restrictions or choices, it’s possible to simplify your shopping list while eating for optimal benefits to your health.

List #1: The Omnivore


Photo by Megan Prendergast

If meat and animal products are part of your diet, here’s a list of foods that in summation contain all 13 essential vitamins.

Meat (especially liver), fish (especially salmon), dark leafy green vegetables, milk, nuts, and whole grains.

List #2: The Lactose Intolerant


Photo by Katherine Baker

If you avoid dairy at all costs, here’s a list of foods to make sure you’re getting the same vitamins from sources other than animal products.

Meat (especially liver), fish (especially salmon), sweet potatoes, soy proteins, dark leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains.

List #3: The Vegan


Photo by Torey Walsh

If you’re going for the animal-free diet, this list will ensure you’re getting at least hints of the vitamins that are found in meat and animal products.

Dark leafy greens, broccoli, nuts, seeds, sunlight (gotta get that vitamin D), sweet potatoes, grapefruits, and soy products.

The vitamin that’s hardest to get from a vegan diet is vitamin B12.

Overall nutrient density winners

Becky Hughes

These lists ensure that each vitamin is taken in at least a little bit. Overall though, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients alike are found in some of the most nutrient dense foods out there that haven’t been listed.

Foods like yogurt, eggs, lentils, broccoli, and black beans are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there.

That being said, along with vitamins, it’s important to remember that there are other nutrients too. Minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron are also abundant in produce and are equally as important to take into account. Balancing macronutrients of carbohydrates, fat and protein is also crucial.