By Chef Lauren Cox, Closer to Your Food

Vitamin D is essential to the body. It helps your bones grow, builds your immune system and helps protect against disease. However, it is estimated that nearly 75% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D1. Many of us know by now that sunlight, oily fish and dietary supplements are the most popular ways to get more vitamin D. However, for many people, basking in the sun may not be an answer because of skin conditions and sensitivities. Eating oily fish on a regular basis also may not be an option, because let’s face it – if you have not developed a taste for it, it’s unlikely that you will pick up a strong desire to eat mackerel on a daily basis. Much of our seafood is over-fished or contaminated from pollution so it can be difficult to find pure sources. Surprisingly, there are several foods packed with vitamin D that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine.2

Non-GMO Organic Soy

Try freshly steamed soybeans sprinkled with sea salt or tossed in a stir fry. You can find organic soy products at your local natural grocer.

Beef Liver

Most people remember (not-so-fondly) being forced to eat liver and onions, but beef liver can actually be delicious. Try it in pate, chili or even in your favorite meatball recipe.


Mushrooms, especially ones grown in sunlight, are very high in vitamin D. Portobello mushrooms are actually considered one of the best vegan sources of vitamin D.3


It may not be for everyone and it can be quite expensive, but caviar is also high in vitamin D. If you can’t afford a fresh tin of expensive caviar (which typically isn’t sustainable anyways), try fresh fish roe next time you go out for sushi. Many brands carry organic, sustainably farmed roe at affordable prices.

Almond Milk

While almonds are very high in vitamin D, many people don’t remember to eat a couple handfuls every day. Try buying almond milk instead of dairy and use it for your morning smoothie or cereal.

Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite variety of pumpkin seeds are pepitas, the shelled pumpkin seed that has been roasted and sometimes tossed with spices. Try roasting your own when you are done with your fall pumpkin, or just pick some up at the store.

Chicken Liver

Liver may turn some people off, but can be so tasty if cooked right. Our favorite option? Dirty rice, which has sautéed onions, peppers, spices and chicken livers.

Swiss Chard

Most leafy greens are high in vitamin D, but chard trumps them all.  Try it mixed into your omelet or braised with garlic.

Dark Chocolate

Good news! Dark chocolate that has over 60% cocoa content is packed with vitamin D, so the next time you have a sweet tooth, indulge in a few small pieces of high-quality dark chocolate for a little pick-me-up.

Interested in more outdoor, skin and summer tips? Click here!





Closer to Your Food is a wellness blog focused on eating and cooking for health and sustainability with recipes and lifestyle tips formulated around a plant-based diet and home-grown local foods. Chef Lauren Cox holds a B.A. from the le Cordon Bleu in Culinary Management with over 8 years of fine dining experience in private dining, catering and Michelan star restaurants. For more information, please visit and follow Closer to Your Food on Twitter and Facebook @Closer2YourFood. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.