I often find that nutrition is a lot like the Goldilocks story. You know how the porridge was too hot, too cold, or just right? And the bed was too hard, too soft, or just right?
The same often holds true for nutrition. Some foods are packed with good-for-you nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Other foods contain lots of calories, typically from fat or sugar (and sometimes both!) but very few healthy nutrients. Other foods fall squarely in the middle; their calorie content is balanced by a good amount of nutrition.
The problem is, it’s not always easy to decipher where foods fall on the nutrient-rich spectrum. Sure, some of the choices are no-brainers. We all know that a piece of fresh fruit contains more healthy nutrients than a candy bar, but what about comparing zucchini to celery, or chicken thighs to water-packed tuna?
If you really want to make sure you’re choosing the most nutrient dense foods for you and your family, check out the nutrient-rich shopping list available here: http://www.nutrientrichfoods.org/living_nutrient_rich/nutrient_rich_shopping_list.html
The folks at the Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition have a wealth of materials on their website. In addition to the shopping list, you’ll find recipes and ideas on eating out.
You certainly don’t have to make 100% of your food choices high in nutrients. However, the more often you swap in a higher nutrient food for one lower in nutrients, the more energy and better health you’ll enjoy. Use the nutrient-rich shopping list the next time you go to the grocery store, and remember to thank Goldilocks.