10 nutritious meals to boost your senses

Rob Hobson has put together his top 10 nutritious meals to boost your senses – from lasagne to a roast chicken dinner and a hearty winter soup.
nutritious meals

We have compiled a list of nutritious meals which each contain foods that help your sight, hearing, taste and smell.

Simple everyday favourites such as a roast chicken dinner is considered to be good for eyesight, thanks to the beta carotene in the carrots, and lutein and zeaxanthin in the green vegetables.

While chicken thighs are a good source of zinc which helps to maintain our sense of taste and smell.

If you are cooking lasagne – the tomatoes contain lycopene, which can help maintain good eyesight, while the beef contains vitamin B12 which may impact on your sense of smell if you don’t get enough in your diet.

It comes after research of 2000 adults found more than one third (36 per cent) don’t pay attention to what they eat and the impact it has on different parts of their body.

Of those who do, general weight is the top concern for 55 per cent, followed by their gut or digestive health, heart, energy levels and immunity.

Here are our Top 10 sensory boosting meals created by Rob Hobson:

Cajun Salmon with Mango sweetcorn and avocado salsa - 10 nutritious meals

Spicy Cajun salmon with mango, sweetcorn and avocado salsa

This marinated salmon dish is brightly coloured which can help to stimulate your appetite. This dish is also good for you eye health as it is rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin, which give sweetcorn and avocado their yellow and green colour. Lutein, which is especially beneficial for eye health as together with other potent antioxidants, this phytonutrient helps to block out visible blue light, which is one of the major causes of light-induced eye damage.

Roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup

Soups can be hugely visually appealing as well as being incredibly nutritious. This vibrant red soup is made from red peppers and sweet potatoes which are rich in the carotenoids lycopene and beta carotene which have been shown to support good eye health. These are converted to vitamin A in the body, which is essential for good eye health. Vitamin A helps by keeping the surface of the eye, or the cornea, moist and healthy. Beta-carotene has also been shown to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Fennel celery and apple salad - 10 nutritious meals

Crunchy radish, tomato and watermelon salad

How a food sounds when you eat it is a sense that can make food more appealing. Foods such as radish have a satisfying crunch that adds texture to a dish. Recent research published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition involving over 65,000 women found that those with higher intakes of beta carotene were associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.

Blueberry and crunchy peanut butter baked oats

Oats are a healthy addition to any diet and when baked offer a crunchy texture to dishes which is appealing to the ear. Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology has shown that eating a healthy balanced diet may reduce the risk of acquired hearing loss. A healthy diet will include plenty of plant foods including wholegrains such as oats and antioxidant rich fruits such as blueberries.

Prawn and Lemongrass broth - 10 nutritious meals

Thai prawn and lemongrass sweet and sour broth

Balancing different tastes can make dishes more satisfying to eat and one of the most common combinations is sweet and sour which is found in this soup. This dish is also a good source of zinc which is required by the body to maintain a good sense of smell.

Thai prawn and lemongrass sweet and sour broth recipe.

mushroom risotto - 10 nutritious meals

Mushroom risotto

Mushrooms are a classic ‘umami’ food which means they give a rich savoury flavour. Dried mushrooms are particularly rich in umami and can be used to make a stock. Mushrooms also contain a source of zinc to help maintain good taste.

See our recipe for creamy mushroom risotto.

Korean beef stir fry - 10 nutritious meals

Korean beef stir fry

Smell is one of the main things people use to decide whether they will eat a certain food. This dish is scented with Korean flavours of ginger and sesame while B12 found in beef has been shown to have a role to play in your sense of smell.

Roast chicken dinner

Chicken thighs are a good source of zinc which helps to maintain our sense of taste and smell, while roasted veg is good for eyesight due to the beta carotene in the carrots, and lutein and zeaxanthin in the green vegetables

Herb salad with pistachio, and pomegranate

Herb salad with orange - 10 nutritious meals

Herbs are a good way to make any dish more fragrant and there is no rule to how they can be used. This dish combines multiple herbs to create a sense sensation plus the pistachio have the added benefit of zinc which can help to maintain a sense of smell.


Tomatoes contain lycopene, which can help maintain good eyesight, while beef contains vitamin B12 which may impact on your sense of smell if you don’t get enough in your diet.

Why nutritious meals matter

Nutritionist Rob Hobson, who is working with eye health nutrients Healthspan OptiVision, which commissioned the research, said: “Diet plays a huge role in our health and wellbeing.

“The saying goes that you are what you eat, and in many cases, this really can be the case.

“Foods all have different benefits – some more than others – and by considering what it in different items, and cleverly combining vitamins and minerals from your food can give different areas of your body and mind targeted support.

“Whether it’s thinking about your brain health and what can improve it or tucking into foods that can help look after your eyes or support your mood.  We can now pinpoint how foods and gaps in the diet can impact certain body parts.

It’s important to have a healthy balanced diet to ensure your body is in as good a condition as it can be.”

The study also found the average adult only has the recommend five portions of fruit and veg on three days a week, with more than one in twenty (seven per cent) admitted they never eat the full amount in one day.

As a result, 42 per cent don’t think they consume enough fruit and 36 per cent say the same of vegetables.

Others think they are lacking when it comes to fish (41 per cent), dairy (22 per cent) and water (35 per cent).

But this means 26 per cent think they are missing out on vitamins and minerals which are crucial to their body and health.

Of those, 39 per cent blame this on simply not knowing what nutrients they need, and 35 per cent are aware what foods they should eat to get the right amount.

A third claim they are too busy to prepare the meals they should be eating and 31 per cent think healthy food is too expensive.

It also emerged that when choosing what to eat, how it tastes (34 per cent) is a bigger consideration than how healthy it is (24 per cent).

“Taste, colour, texture are all key when it comes to the sensory aspect of food and taste”, says Rob who also works on recipe development for specific health conditions.

But more than half (53 per cent) of those polled via OnePoll never consider the foods that could help boost their eye health, with 34 per cent claiming they don’t believe what they eat makes a difference to their eyesight.

Just 34 per cent consider carrots to be a good item to eat for healthy eyes, while only 31 per cent said the same of tomatoes.

Oily fish (29 per cent), green, leafy vegetables (29 per cent) and orange peppers (26 per cent) were also among the foods many were unaware could help look after their eyes.

However, almost one in 10 (nine per cent) consider their eye health to be poor or very poor, with 15 per cent convinced they have an eye condition which has been made worse by their diet.

Optometrist, Ian White  says, “A healthy diet is essential to allow your eyes and vision to work at their optimum level right now – but some of the biggest benefits to healthy eating come from preventing future eye diseases before they start.”

Healthspan Optivision

If you are concerned that you are unable to get the required recommended daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals in your diet, you can try supplements such as Healthspan Optivision at £15 for a month’s supply.

If you are inspired by 10 nutritious meals to boost your senses, you can find many of the dishes included above on our Food and Drink channel.

Tags: , Last modified: October 11, 2022

Written by 12:02 pm Nutrition