Updated: Nov 18
Let's continue on our Cracking the Calorie Code journey with Part 3!
In Part 1, I defined what calories are and how they're taken in and burned by the body. In Part 2, we talked about empty calories (Aka not so nutritionally dense calories) and their effects on our goals.
Today, I'm moving into one of my fave calorie topics for health and weight loss: "nutrient dense calories."
What Are Nutrient Dense Calories?
Nutrient dense foods are the power packed calories for your body and goals. They not only provide energy but also a treasure trove of essential nutrients that your body thrives on. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Here's why they're valuable:
Vitamins and Minerals: Nutrient-rich foods are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that help your function as a whole from weight to mood to processes and more.
Fiber: They contain fiber, which is great for your digestion, keeps your blood sugar steady, and makes you feel full faster, helping with overeating.
Protein: Many nutrient-rich foods have protein, which builds and repairs your body and keeps your muscles and bones strong. It also keeps you full in between meal.
Healthy Fats: Some are rich in healthy fats, which are good for balancing hormones, taste and feeling satisfied.
Antioxidants: They're loaded with antioxidants that protect your body from damage and inflammation.
Macro and Micronutrients: They give you everything your body needs, from the big stuff (carbs, proteins, and fats) to the little things (vitamins and minerals).
Lower Caloric Density: Nutrient-dense foods tend to be lower in calories for the volume they provide, which can be beneficial for weight loss and management. You can eat larger portions of nutrient-dense foods without consuming excess calories.
Satiety: Nutrient-rich foods are often more filling and satisfying, helping to control appetite and reduce the likelihood of overeating.
Some examples of nutrient-dense foods include:
Fruits and vegetables (especially the low glycemic ones like leafy greens, berries, and cruciferous vegetables)
Whole grains (like oats, brown rice, and quinoa)
Lean proteins (such as poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes)
Nuts and seeds
Dairy or dairy alternatives (unsweetened)
Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, and fatty fish)
Herbs and spices
Now we know what calories are and the types of calories, my Cracking The Calorie code: Part 4 blog is putting it all together with how calories play into the weight loss game so you can stop being scared of them and start using them toward our goals vs against. Read it here.