The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines-Nutrient Dense Foods |
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The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines-Nutrient Dense Foods

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Fruits, immunity and COVID

The term “empty calories” explains the concept that a variety of foods are high in calories but low in nutrients. These energy-rich yet nutrient-poor foods may lead to a myriad of health conditions from overweight and obesity to other diet-related chronic diseases. 

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines are directed towards the consumption of specifically nutrient-dense foods and beverages as they render sufficient vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting components with no or little added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. 

Importance of nutrient density-

Nutrient density describes the nutrient content concerning the energy content, or calories, in a particular food, thus helping to choose a healthy option. A healthy dietary pattern including nutrient-dense food and beverage will render good health as well as protect from diet-related chronic diseases in individuals, in all stages of life.

Options for nutrient-dense foods include- vegetables, fruits, grains (especially whole grains), low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, eggs, seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products. 

Opting for foods from this category along with avoiding or limiting added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium will provide nutrients without excess calories.

Ways to prepare nutrient-dense foods-

The nutrient density of the food, when cooked, relates to the ingredients used and preparation method. The fried food with the same ingredients is sure to have more calories than its grilled counterpart.

Substituting some food items with their nutritious counterpart will help gain nutrient-dense foods. Like-

Substituting White rice with Brown rice, White bread and pasta with whole-grain bread or pasta, Sugary cereal with Oatmeal with fruit or whole wheat cereal, Sour cream or sweetened yogurt with plain non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt, Sweetened applesauce with Unsweetened applesauce, Regular canned vegetables with Low-sodium canned or fresh vegetables, Fried vegetables with Roasted vegetables, Chips with Crunchy vegetables or unsweetened/unsalted nuts, Candy or cookies with Whole fruit or unsweetened dried fruit, Mayonnaise with Hummus, Butter with Vegetable oil, Whole milk with Low-fat or no-fat milk, Soda with Sparkling Water.

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