Nutrient Dense Foods

What is a nutrient dense food?

Nutrient-dense foods and beverages are naturally lean or low in solid fats and have little or no added solid fats, sugars, refined starches, or sodium. Come to think of it, nutrient dense foods are those foods that found usually around the perimeter of the store.  Foods like lean meat, produce, whole grains and low-fat dairy. For example, fresh or frozen peaches without added sugar is a nutrient dense food, where as canned peaches in heavy syrup are not.  Whole baked chicken with herbs is nutrient dense, but fried chicken is not.

To inform customers on the nutrient density of a food item some grocers use a nutrient score on a shelf tag. For example, white flour may have a nutrient score of 35 whereas the score of whole wheat flour is 60. Stock your home shelves with as many nutrient dense foods as possible.

High-nutrient dense food

  • Fruits/vegetables with

no added sugar or salt

  • Fat-free milk
  • Pork chop

Low-nutrient dense foods

  • Chips
  • Ice cream
  • Bacon

By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes reasonable.

Source: U.S.   Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.