Dietary Tips for Popular Nutrient Dense Foods

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Nutrition is the key to looking and feeling your best so it’s vital to choose the freshest and most nutrient dense foods to provide your body with lots of energy during the day and give you a boost to get through tough workouts. Eating the right types of food can help you build lean muscle and burn off unwanted body fat but certain foods can also be used as powerful healers for common ailments. Some examples include:

  • Chicken soup for the common cold.
  • The antibiotic properties of garlic.
  • Cholesterol-lowering abilities of apples, beans, garlic and oats.
  • Anti-diabetic properties of foods rich in dietary fiber.

In this article, I will cover several nutritious foods and discuss what to look for and what to avoid along with the best ways to serve and store these foods.

Nutrient Dense Food #1 – Apples
Apples are rich in natural sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose). Apples have small amounts of vitamin A and B, plus vitamin C.

Tips When Buying:
When buying apples look for firm, brightly colored red Macintosh; clear-green Granny Smith; golden-yellow Delicious. The best way to serve this food is fresh and unpared to take full advantage of the fiber found in the peel which helps to preserve the vitamin C.

dietary-tips-popular-nutrient-dense-foods-apples

Avoid:
Bruised apples. If you buy them packed in a plastic bag, turn the bag upside down and examine the fruit carefully.

How To Store This Food:
Always keep the apples in the refrigerator because cool storage keeps them from losing their moisture and this keeps them fresh.

Nutrient Dense Food #2 – Asparagus
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins as well as folic acid.

Tips When Buying:
Look for bright, green stalks. Asparagus is in season March through August.

What To Avoid:
Wilted stalks.

How To Store This Food:
Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator to keep it crisp. Wrap it in a dry paper towel and then place it in a plastic bag before storing.

Nutrient Dense Food #3 – Avocados
The calories in avocados are supplied mostly by healthy fat. Avocados are a good source of vitamin C.

Tips When Buying:
Look for avocados that are heavy for their size.

What To Avoid:
Avocados with soft dark spots on the skin.

How To Store This Food:
Store hard, unripe avocados in a warm place like a bowl on top of the refrigerator.

dietary-tips-popular-nutrient-dense-foods-avocado

Nutrient Dense Food #4 – Beef
Beef provides “complete” proteins that supply essential amino acids. Beef is an excellent source of vitamin B.

Tips When Buying:
Best way to serve this food is to trim the beef carefully and cut away all of the fat. This helps to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in each serving.

What To Look For:
One of the most important things to look for when buying meat is the cut, which is the part of the cow the meat is from. The color is important also, so always choose meat that is red since beef that’s pink is from immature animals and will taste bland. Also make sure to check the expiration date when buying meat.

How To Store This Food:
Refrigerate raw beef immediately. Carefully wrap it to prevent its drippings from contaminating other foods.

Nutrient Dense Food #5 – Eggs
The egg white is a high-protein, low-fat food. The egg yolk is a good source of protein, but it’s high in fat and cholesterol. Together, the yolk and white make a high-protein, relatively low-calorie food with a calcium-rich shell that can be ground and added to cooked eggs as a calcium supplement.

Tips When Serving:
The best way to serve this food is with meat or a vitamin C-rich food (citrus fruit or juice) to increase your body’s absorption of the iron contained in the yolk. You can reduce the fat and cholesterol content by adding extra egg whites and fewer egg yolks (two egg whites to one whole egg with yolk).

What To Look For:
Eggs that fit your needs. Jumbo, extra-large, large, medium and small. Some of the different types of eggs in the grocery store include “Farm Fresh”, “All Natural”, “Cage Free”, “Free-Range”, “Organic” and “Omega-3”.

How To Store This Food:
Store fresh eggs in the refrigerator and keep them in the original carton.

Nutrient Dense Food #6 – Nuts
Nuts are a high-protein, high-fat, high carbohydrate and high-fiber food. They are a great source of B vitamins, calcium, potassium and iron.

Tips When Serving:
The best way to serve this food is with peanuts or beans. Both are legumes, which provide the essential amino acid lysine needed for a “complete” source of protein.

dietary-tips-popular-nutrient-dense-foods-nuts

What To Look For:
Fresh nuts with clean, undamaged shells. The nuts should feel heavy for their size since nuts that feel light may be withered inside.

How To Store This Food:
Be sure to store in a cool, dry, dark place in a container that protects them from the air, heat, light and moisture.

Nutrient Dense Food #7 – Pasta
Whole wheat pasta is made with whole wheat flour. Egg noodles are made with flour and water plus eggs. Spinach pasta adds dried spinach for taste and color. High-protein pasta is fortified with soy flour. All pasta is a high-carbohydrate (starch) food. The protein in pasta is considered deficient in the essential amino acids. All pasta is a good source of B vitamins.

Tips When Serving:
The best way to serve this food is with meat, eggs, or milk products (cheese) since this “compliments” the protein in the pasta.

Nutrient Dense Food #8 – Poultry
All poultry provides generous amounts of high quality “complete” proteins (proteins with adequate amounts of all of the essential amino acids). Poultry is also a good source of B vitamins.

Tips When Buying:
Look for poultry with fresh, unblemished skin and clean unblemished meat. The best way to eat this food is broiled or roasted with the skin removed to reduce the fat content.

What To Avoid:
Poultry whose skin is dry or discolored.

How To Store This Food:
Refrigerate fresh poultry immediately. Refrigeration prolongs freshness by slowing the natural multiplication of bacteria on the surface of the chicken.

Nutrient Dense Food #9 – Spinach
Spinach is an extraordinarily good source of vitamin C.

Tips When Buying:
Look for fresh, crisp, dark green leaves that are free of dirt. The best way to serve this food is raw or lightly steamed to protect the vitamin C.

dietary-tips-popular-nutrient-dense-foods-spinach

What To Avoid:
Yellow leaves.

How To Store This Food:
Store the loose leaves in a roomy plastic bag. If you bought spinach already wrapped in plastic, unwrap it and divide it up into smaller packages so the leaves are not crowded or bent.

Nutrient Dense Food #10 – Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in starch with a moderate amount of fiber, some protein, a trace amount of fat and no cholesterol. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A.

Tips When Buying:
Look for solid, well-shaped sweet potatoes that are thick in the center and tapering towards the ends. The potatoes should feel heavy for their size and the skin should be evenly colored and free of blemishes, bruises and mold.

What To Avoid:
Avoid moldy sweet potatoes.

How To Store This Food:
Handle sweet potatoes gently to avoid bruising. Store sweet potatoes in a cool (55-60 F) dark cabinet, not in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures will damage the potato.

Nutrient Dense Food #11 – Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils are derived from nuts, seeds and vegetables (olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil). Vegetable oils are also our best source of vitamin E which is a natural antioxidant.

Tips When Buying:
Look for tightly sealed bottles with a “best by” date or “date of harvest” to ensure freshness. Try to buy vegetable oils only from this year’s harvest.

How To Store This Food:
Store vegetable oils in a cool, dark cabinet to protect them from light, heat and air. When exposed to air, fatty acids become rancid which means that they combine with oxygen to form hydroperoxides which are natural substances that taste bad, smell bad and may destroy the vitamin E in the oil.

So as you can see from some of the foods mentioned above, the way you serve the food and what you serve it with may improve its value. I hope that this will give you a new way of thinking about and looking at what you eat and the ability to better evaluate the foods you bring into your kitchen and serve on your table.

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About Author

Eleanora Reeves

My name is Eleanora and I'm a personal trainer and the owner of Reeves Fitness Center in Urbana, Illinois. I'm able to reach others through my healthy lifestyle and help them reach their fitness goals. I live the life in which I talk about with confidence and with passion! See my profile page for more information.

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