Most people choose the foods they eat based on more immediately gratifying characteristics like the flavor, texture, comfort, or convenience they might
offer. While the gratification some foods offer might be instant and satisfying in the moment, the long-term consequences of continually choosing foods
like these aren't always considered.
Choosing the right foods for your diet goes far beyond just simply scanning the nutritional information. You must also consider the nutrient density of
your foods. The nutrient density of foods is calculated by considering the amount of nutrients for the given volume of food. The foods that are most
dense in nutrients are those with many nutrients and fewer calories. Foods you might be familiar with that are the most popular of the nutrient dense
foods are called "superfoods."
In order to choose the right nutrient dense foods, it's important to first understand exactly how nutrient density works. To best illustrate this
concept, consider the hunger you feel a few hours before a meal. There are many kinds of snacks you can reach for, with options ranging from an apple
to something sweet, like a cookie or donut. Either of these will sufficiently "fill you up" for the time being. You can probably guess that the apple
is the wiser choice, but you might not be sure why. The apple has better nutrient density, as it's low in calories and high in vitamins and fiber that
keep you feeling full longer while also being good for you. The sweets are filled with calories and have very few nutrients.
The nutrient densities of foods may also be compared using the amount of calories in food. A handful of sliced carrots and a few saltine crackers have
the same amount of calories, yet the carrots have far more nutrients to offer for the same amount of calories. The carrots are far higher in nutrient
Those seeking a healthier diet must understand this concept in order to experience success in the long-term. Foods that have high nutrient density keep
you satisfied longer while also being good for you. You can fill up faster while still fueling your body more efficiently.
Nutrient dense foods are generally the most colorful ones; which means that fruits and vegetables are almost always considered great choices. Other
smart food choices to consider when looking for those that are nutrient dense include salmon, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. To keep it simple, most
nutrient dense foods are found on the "outskirts" of the grocery store. These foods will provide you with much nutrition without all the calories.