Nutrient Dense Eating

Sara K. Larsen - Sunday, July 27, 2014
As a nutritional health coach, I encourage my clients to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods while watching the consumption of calorie-dense foods. Calorie-dense foods are high in calories, and low in nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods are the opposite - high in nutrients, and low in calories. By focusing on eating a wide range of vegetables and fruits, you are providing your body will all the nutrients it needs and eating significantly fewer calories. 

For example, an apple and a small bag of chips has roughly the same amount of calories, but the apple is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and other beneficial phytochemicals. Also, the apple has more volume and will help you feel more full, will give you energy and over time could help you lose weight. If pizza is your favorite food I would never tell you not to eat it, I would suggest having 2-3 pieces of pizza with a large salad. The salad add nutrients and will fill you up so you don't go back for more pizza. 

Nutrient dense eating can work well as a weight loss or weight management tool because it doesn't feel so restrictive. It's about filling yourself with nutritious foods, not about depriving yourself. You can still enjoy your favorite foods by adding nutrient dense foods to go with it. 

If you start adding more nutrient-dense foods into your diet you'll consume fewer calories and might end up losing weight without that empty feeling in your gut. Once you think about calorie-dense foods vs. nutrient-dense foods you'll be surprised by how much food you can eat. The key is to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and beans, and eat less high-fat and overly processed foods.