Eat nutrient-dense food to feel energized and lose weight!

Sometimes it takes what seems like superhuman willpower to say “no” to doughnuts, ice cream, candy bars, fried foods, and other high-calorie, low-nutrient nibbles. So what’s the real secret to achieving a lean body with lots of energy? 

Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients in a specific food compared to the total calories it contains. The science behind weight loss seems simple. For example, if 1,500 calories are consumed and 2,000 are burned, a caloric deficit of 500 is created, and weight loss is the result. Unfortunately, losing weight and keeping it off is not so simple. There will be moments of weakness in every person’s weight loss journey. However, choosing foods dense in nutrients will fuel your willpower and leave you super energized, and that’s the real secret! 

As a personal trainer, I recommend no more than a 500-calorie per day deficit for my clients who are trying to lose weight. Why should we eat nutrient-dense food while decreasing caloric intake? Maximizing nutrients consumed will allow you to eat more food, feel more satisfied, and lose weight. It is very difficult to eat too much fresh fruit, and it is nearly impossible to overeat fresh vegetables.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, “By including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in your diet, you can feel full on fewer calories.” Eating larger portions of high-nutrient foods, will stop your hunger pains, give you more energy, and allow you to feel more satisfied. Consuming the following nutrient-packed foods will jumpstart weight loss and give your body what it needs!

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Vegetables are high in nutrients and a wonderful source of antioxidants. Be sure to choose a variety of colorful vegetables! 

  • brown/tan/white: garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, jicama, turnips, parsnips
  • red: beets, radishes, tomatoes, red peppers, rhubarb
  • orange/yellow: butternut squash, carrots, yellow peppers, pumpkin, summer squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes
  • green: artichokes, arugula, broccoli, green beans, lettuce, okra, zucchini, endive, spinach, leeks, cucumbers, brussels sprouts
  • blue/purple: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple fleshed potatoes



Choose a colorful variety to maximize nutrient density.

  • white: bananas, pears, dates, peaches
  • green: green grapes, kiwi, avocados, lime
  • red: apples, blood oranges, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates
  • yellow/orange: apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, peaches
  • blue/purple: blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums, raisins



Grains are a great source of Vitamin B, fiber, iron, selenium, magnesium, and carbohydrates.Sources of grains are:

  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • whole wheat pasta
  • oatmeal
  • whole wheat bread. [/column]

Make Your Calories Count

The average candy bar has approximately 250 calories. You would have to consume the following amount of nutrient dense foods to equal the calories in just ONE candy bar: one cup of cherry tomatoes, one cup of celery, one cup of cucumber, one cup of carrots, one cup of cooked kale, one cup of broccoli, and one medium banana. The candy bar may you leave you hungry and looking for more calories, whereas all of this low-calorie, nutrient-dense food will keep you full until your next meal.


By Tami Charbonnet, CPT

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