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Eating healthy is so much more than “calories in, calories out”

Nutrient Density

I’m starting a new blog post series on optimal nutrition, and this mini series will be focusing on the nutrient density of foods and different colors of foods.

Calorie counting only gives you some sort of clue on how much energy that food contains. But it doesn’t tell you anything about the actual nutrients in the food. Also, calories marked on food labels are only estimates of how much energy you are getting from that food. Next time on this nutrition blog series I’ll tell you more about why calorie counting is misleading.

Nutrition density is the ratio of nutrients (eg. fiber, vitamins, protein, minerals…) relative to the total calorie content in a food. Good nutrition with high levels of nutrients makes you healthier, makes you feel and look good, increases your overall performance and increases your wellbeing in long-term! A diet with more high in nutrient-dense foods and low in calorie-dense foods increases your feeling of satiation after a meal, too.

Eating healthy doesn’t only mean eliminating certain foods from your diet that have a low nutrient density but it’s more about increasing the intake of nutrient dense foods!

What foods have a high nutrient density?

So how do I know what foods contain more nutrients and what foods have a low nutrient density? How can you know the difference when you’re grocery shopping?

Certain foods have a higher ratio of nutrients relative to the total calorie content in that food. Some examples of foods with high ratio of nutrients (increase the intake of these foods in your diet):

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • berries
  • high-fiber unprocessed grains.

Examples of foods with low ratio of nutrients (reduce the intake of these in your diet):

  • white sugar
  • candy
  • soft drinks
  • regular ice cream
  • white flour.

how to but more foods with high nutrient density

Look for foods with intensive color

For example, think about lettuce compared to spinach or kale. Spinach and kale have a much more intensive green color than lettuce. Buy more foods that have an intensive color and those foods that they might even leave the color to your kitchen and your hands. Yes, messy kitchen is the new healthy! :) For instance, here are some good intensive colorful foods: turmeric, wild berries, green herbs, stinging nettle, kale, spinach, tomatoes and beetroot.

Next time I’ll be writing about why counting calories is misleading and then we’ll move on to different colours in foods.

If you want to know more, check out and download our free tool to help you remember buy more healthy food when grocery shopping. :) Feel Ihana!

// Love, your Ihana Wellness Nutrition Coach Mirka xx

Ihana Wellness blog has seven categories: Recipes, Nutrition, Exercise, Ihana Travels, Personal Growth, Yoga and Lifestyle, and this nutrition category is all about optimal nutrition for you.

PS. Keep posting your colorful meals on Instagram using hashtags #feelihana, #ihanawellness & tag @ihanawellness to get featured on our social media channels!


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