Continuum Weight + Wellbeing

Dietitians and Nutritionists will tell you to eat healthy, but what does that mean exactly? There is certainly no shortage of advice out there from “eat your vegetables” to “avoid carbs”, “eat healthy fats” and on and on. So how do you know if you are eating healthy enough? Can you measure “healthy eating”?

Several years ago I began to notice that when my clients would eat a certain way, they had a much easier time maintaining their healthy weight and they just felt better. When I analyzed their diets and compared them to my clients who were struggling, I noticed a strong pattern. My clients who were doing well, were actually eating more foods that were nutrient dense. Meaning, they were getting more vitamins, minerals and fiber per Calorie than my clients who were experiencing weight regain.

Why is nutrient density important?

In order to function efficiently and effectively, our bodies need certain nutrients—some nutrients our bodies can make on their own, but many need to come from the foods we eat. The problem? Not all foods are created equal. Let’s look at an example: to get the same nutrient punch as 35 Calories of broccoli, you would need to eat 200 Calories worth of enriched bread. (That’s about 3 slices of bread!) Per Calorie, broccoli is much more nutrient-dense. So, do you give up bread and only eat broccoli? Realistically, no. To help my clients put this into practice, I needed to create a food guide based on nutrient density and a simple way to measure the quality of their eating. We utilize our Nutrient Density Calculator at Continuum Weight + Wellbeing for just this purpose. The goal is to create a meal plan that is balanced, includes all foods, and that maximizes your nutrient intake for the Calories you consume.

Think about it this way: You wouldn’t put diesel fuel into your regular gas engine car. It just won’t run right and could cause damage. Your body may thank you with more energy and better performance when you give it the fuel for which it was designed.

Danette Peterson

Registered Dietitian