According to research, a typical diet is generally nutrient-rich but energy-deficit. Here, we are referring to energy in terms of calories! This is the origin of the phrase “empty calories,” which describes foods that are high in calories but low in nutritious value. Nutrition Packed Foods are high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients crucial for well-being without excessive amounts of added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium.
Fruits, whole grains, vegetables, non-fat and low-fat dairy, seafood, fish, unprocessed lean meat, nuts, skinless chicken, and legumes are all included in this list. Now, the number of nutrients you receive per calorie consumed is the fundamental idea behind this entire nutritional density.
Imagine that you are trying to choose between two packages of bread by studying the labels. Each slice provides almost 80 calories, yet not enough in terms of vitamins or minerals. Although the whole-grain version has around the same amount of calories, it also has more protein, threefold as much magnesium, and more than twice as much potassium, fiber, zinc, and vitamin B6. The alternative with whole grains has a higher concentration of nutrients.
How are health and nutrition connected?
Generally, health and nutrition go alongside one another. After all, food provides energy to all of the body’s cells and aids in the development of stamina and physical power.
Dr. Irfan Shaikh, Head of Adult Nutrition, Scientific & Medical Affairs, Abbott’s Nutrition business, stated that this makes it possible to enhance a person’s eating habits in order to achieve optimum health. He also recommends some simple strategies to enhance your dietary habits and decisions by including a range of foods and key elements in your diet.
Choose a diet that is high in nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods are low in sodium, sugar, trans fat, and carbohydrates. They are rich in vitamins and minerals besides being calorie deficient. Now, micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that your body requires. They fuel in your body and aid in your overall wellness. They can also reduce and even eliminate your chances of developing any chronic diseases. Consuming them in between or alongside meals assures that your body can absorb them sufficiently.
Additionally, eat a range of foods to acquire a diversity of vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables are naturally nutrient-dense foods. Some other nutrient-dense foods include lean meats, seafood, whole grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
An Approach To Better Health
You might not obtain all of the micronutrients your system requires. Generally, people have a tendency to consume meals that are loaded with calories but deficient in micronutrients. These foods frequently have extra sugar, sodium (salt), and saturated or trans fats. Thus, this particular kind of diet promotes weight growth. As a result, it will raise your chances of developing health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
However, there are a few foods that are excellent for acquiring better health. You can switch your current food choices with these nutrition packed foods to elevate your nutrition game. Below is a list of a few nutrients and their food sources. Have a look.
- Calcium: Dairy substitutes, dark and leafy greens, nonfat and low-fat dairy, sardines, and broccoli.
- Fiber: strawberries, Legumes (dried beans and peas), seeds, colorful fruit and vegetables, whole-grain foods and beans, carrots, apples, and raspberries.
- Potassium: Fish, cantaloupe, nuts, raisins, bananas, and spinach, and some other dark greens
- Magnesium: Peas, Almonds, black beans, and spinach.
- Vitamin A: Eggs, carrots, milk, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
- Vitamin C: Oranges, kiwi, red and green bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Vitamin E: Avocados, whole-grain foods, nuts, spinach, seeds, and other dark leafy greens
How Do You Find Nutrient-Dense Foods?
The science of evaluating or categorizing food items based on the vitamins and minerals they contain is known as nutritional profiling. Nutrition specialists have proposed several nutrient-density profiling techniques. Certain tools are intended for health professionals to be employed while counseling clients and patients, while others are intended for consumers. You may have noticed certain promos in your local supermarket as well.
Most of these methods evaluate both helpful and frequently underutilized nutrients (such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber) and those proven to be harmful to health when ingested in excess. (such as saturated fat, added sugars, sodium, and trans fat).
All in all, a well-rounded strategy is essential. A heart-healthy diet includes the following foods:
- Consuming lots of fruits and vegetables
- Selecting Whole Grains
- Choosing protein sources that are largely plant-based (legumes and nuts), low-fat or nonfat dairy, fish or seafood, and lean cuts of meat.
- Red and processed meats, added sweets, sodium, and alcohol should all be avoided.
5 Best Nutrition Packed Foods You Must Know
Whole-grain foods have a low fat content. They also include a lot of fiber and complicated carbs. This keeps you fuller for longer and helps you avoid overeating. Try looking for the term ‘whole’ in the ingredient list. “Whole wheat flour,” for example, or “whole oat flour.” Choose items with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Some enhanced flours include fiber but are low in nutrients.
Choose from the following foods:
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Brown or wild rice
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain (rye or wheat), rolls, crackers, and breads
- Rolled or steel cut oats
- Whole-wheat tortillas
- Barley, whole corn, quinoa, buckwheat, and cracked wheat
2. Fruits, Vegetables, and Meat
Now, you must be knowing that fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. They add plenty of nutrients, flavor, and a rich variety to your diet. Look for fruits and vegetables rich in color, especially orange and dark green.
Choose these foods:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Snap peas, bell peppers, green beans, and asparagus
- Leafy greens like bok choy, cabbage, chard, and romaine
- Blueberries, pomegranates, strawberries, cherries, and grapes
- Peaches, melons, and pears
- Apples, mangoes, plums, bananas, papaya, and pineapple
- Leafy dark greens like spinach and kale
- Squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin
- Citrus fruits like Oranges and grapefruits
- Tomatoes and avocados
- Beef, veal, pork, and lamb
- Meat, fish, poultry, and beans
Select lean, low-fat cuts of meat. Try searching for the expressions “round,” “loin,” or “leg” in their names. Before cooking, make sure you remove all the excess fat from the outside (if any). Before eating, remove any separable inner fat. The most healthy means to prepare these meats are baking, broiling, and roasting. However, limit your consumption of meat, pig, veal, and lamb. Even lean cuts have higher levels of fat and cholesterol than different sources of protein.
Chicken breasts are an excellent poultry cut. They are heavy in protein and low in fat. Before preparing food, remove the skin and exterior fat. The most nutritious ways for cooking poultry are baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting.
Fresh fish and shellfish should always be moist and colorless. They must have a fresh scent and solid, springy meat. Make sure you pick frozen or low-salt canned fish if fresh fish is not accessible anywhere near. The finest sources of omega-3 fatty acids are wild-caught oily fish. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are a few examples. The most healthy ways for preparing fish are steaming, baking, and broiling.
5. Beans and other non-meat protein sources
Non-meat protein sources can also be nutrient-dense. You can try peanut butter, some beans, or other nuts and seeds. You can choose these foods:
- Small cuts of veal, pork, beef, and lamb
- Turkey bacon
- Haddock or other white fish
- Wild-caught salmon or other oily fish
- Wild-caught tuna (canned or fresh)
- Shrimp, lobsters, mussels, scallops (without added fat)
- Legumes, like beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Ground chicken or turkey
- Dairy and its substitutes
- Choose low-fat milk, skim milk, or enriched milk substitutes. Try switching to evaporated skim milk in recipes and coffee in place of cream.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free cheeses.
- Low-fat, nuts, skim, or enriched milk, such as rice or soy
- String cheese
- Skim ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Plain nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream
Wrapping It Up
Most nutrient-rich foods are found in the outer circle of the grocery store. The amount of nutrition packed foods you must eat depends on your regular calorie needs. Yet, speaking of snacks, most of us, especially children and teenagers, crave it. Although it is considered unhealthy, snacks can be a healthier option too. We munch on snacks to acquire a considerable percentage of our daily energy (calories) consumed in between regular meals.
Typical snack foods and drinks include greater levels of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar additions. Sugary drinks, for example, (such as sports drinks, carbonated sodas, and sweet tea) are typically filled with calories and poor nutritional value. You can munch on nutrition packed foods, including nonfat or low-fat dairy products, a range of vegetable and fruit items, and nuts.
You can acquire the essential nutrients your body requires without ingesting too many calories by eating more nutrient-dense meals. All that you need to do is to concentrate on your entire eating pattern rather than individual nutrients, foods, or dietary groupings, and you’re good to go!