Calories: Quality over Quantity

Posted: February 21, 2017 By: Comment: 0
nutrient dense chart

Have you ever wondered how many calories you should consume each day? If you’re confused on this than you are not alone. Determining calorie intake depends on factors like your age, weight, gender, activity level and height. However, even with these specific parameters, it’s impossible to generate an exact number to adhere to each day. While it’s important for each of us to know roughly what of our calorie expenditure and intake is, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only way to measure your food intake. If you were to put less emphasis on the total calorie content of your food, and more on the nutritional density of the foods on your plate, than this will dramatically simplify your food choices. Nutrient dense foods are always fresh, wholesome and minimally processed (ie. nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, legumes, lean protein, whole grains, etc.). Dr. Fuhrman has generated a food chart with foods rated on a scale of 1-1,000 based on their nutrient density given his formula health= nutrients/ calories.

The theory behind choosing foods based on their nutrient profile is quite simple: fresh, whole foods are high in micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals in addition to having high fiber and water content. When our cells are provided the micro-nutrients they require, our digestion, immunity, energy levels, appetite, and metabolism are optimized and function at a higher level. When you eat according to the nutrients in your food, you’re efficiently fueling your body without having to analyze calories found in packaged products.

Remember, not all calories are created equally. For example, 500 calories of lean protein, greens, and avocado is going to satisfy you and leave you full far more than 500 calories worth of chips, salsa and a cheese quesadilla will. I challenge you to focus on filling your plate with fresh, whole, minimally processed foods from lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates as a simple yet effective way to measure your nutrient intake.

For more nutrition and lifestyle support, connect with maura@bostonbalans.com.