Selecting Nutrient Dense Foods

Foods that contain the most nutrients in the fewest kcals are called nutrient-dense foods. Now that you know the number of kcals each macronutrient provides and the importance of the micronutrients, can you select foods that provide many nutrients without consuming too many kcals? Let us equate this concept to bargain shopping. If you have $10 and you need to buy several toiletries, you will buy the products that cost the least money yet still meet your needs. The same should be true with respect to the amount of kcals in the foods you eat. For an example look at the nutritional content of skim milk and whole milk.

Skim Milk Whole Milk

Total kcal



grams CHO



grams proteins



grams fat



mg Calcium



Skim milk and whole milk contain the same amounts of proteins, CHO, and calcium; however, skim milk has less total kcals and less fat than the whole milk. Therefore, you can drink two glasses of skim milk for the same amount of kcals as 1 glass of whole milk, yet you will get twice the proteins, CHO, and calcium.

The goal of selecting nutrient-dense foods is not to avoid fat grams, but rather to select foods that contain the essential macro- and micronutrients without eating an overabundance of kcals.

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