The Benefits of Nutrient-Dense Foods

By Reliv Key Director Dawn Tucci

Do you ever find yourself at the end of the day and nothing nutritious has passed your lips? If you’re snacking on food without much nutritional value, you’re probably still hungry. The solution? Nutrient-dense foods!

Let’s start by defining terms. What do we mean by “nutrient dense?” Nutrient-dense foods have a high nutrient content in proportion to the calories they contain. Therefore, including these foods in your diet can increase the nutrition you get per calorie. For example, foods like kale, blueberries, and quinoa offer a lot of nutrition without many calories.

The Nutritional Balance

If you only ate foods that were nutrient-dense, you’d have to say goodbye to most of your favorite snacks and “sometimes foods.” By making sure that a few bites of each meal and snack contain some of these nutrition powerhouses, you can get away with occasionally eating things that are not so healthy. When you pack your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes, you can have a treat every now and then while still staying on track.

Added Benefits

In addition to vitamins and minerals, there are other benefits to eating nutrient-dense foods. Many of these foods are also high in fiber, which is a type of complex-carbohydrate that takes your body longer to digest than foods comprised of simple sugars. This means that you will also feel fuller, longer when you eat them. Of course, if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, Reliv’s FibRestore® is a Targeted Solution that offers 10 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per serving. By adding FibRestore to your daily Core Nutrition shake, you can ensure that you’re getting all the benefits of fiber, including digestive health, weight loss, blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol!

Snacking for the Win

Another way to keep you feeling full is to snack between meals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want and expect to stay healthy. Snacks should be high in nutrition and loaded with protein. Ideally, you want a combination of lean protein and healthy fat for staying power. Aim for about 150 calories of nutrient-rich foods and your snack will be satisfying and give you the “pick me up” you are looking for!

Recipe Time

Here is a great snack from Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN:

Easy Yogurt Bowl
Add berries or a tablespoon of chia seeds to plain Greek yogurt to provide a filling combination of protein and fiber. In the fall, 1⁄2 cup of pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice make great stand-ins for berries and still provide 3 grams of fiber per 1⁄2 cup. You can also add locally-produced honey to sweeten the deal!

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Foods

  • Legumes and nuts – excellent sources of lean protein
  • Quinoa and sweet potatoes – healthful alternative to and more nutritious than white bread and rice
  • Salmon – also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the body, especially the heart
  • Kale and other greens – also high in antioxidants
  • Berries – rich in anthocyanin which may have metabolic benefits
  • Others include garlic, sardines, eggs, dark chocolate, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, seeds, tomatoes, and soybeans.

If you want lots of nutrients without calories, focus on foods like the ones above mixed into your diet. A more nutritious diet benefits your health, and you will also feel better and have more energy!

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