Nutrient Dense Foods are Key to Weight Loss!
I am going to tell you something that will permanently change your relationship with food—you do not need to starve yourself with super low-calorie diets in order to lose fat and keep it off. In fact, doing this is very likely to backfire on you and mess up with your metabolism. By eating nutrient dense foods in the right proportions and portions, you can start to enjoy “dieting.”
By the time you read the last word of this post, you will understand what “nutrient dense” means and what nutrient dense foods you should be eating (including carbs!). This is the information you need to be free you from the often overwhelming and unsatisfying side-effects of traditional dieting. Approaching weight loss with an eating plan that will not leave you hungry, tired, and frustrated gives a huge boost to your chances of success!
What Does Nutrient Dense Mean?
“Nutrient dense” refers to the amount of health essential macro and micronutrients a food contains. Macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, provide the energy (calories) our body needs to function properly both mentally and physically active. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that we require to help boost our metabolism and lose body fat.
Here’s a simple breakdown of protein, carbs, and fats:
- Protein—needed for muscle recovery.
- Carbohydrates—a primary source of energy.
- Healthiest options—fruits, vegetables, whole grains
- Fats—necessary for optimal body functioning.
Nutrient dense foods are real and unprocessed (AKA whole food nutrition) as opposed to chemically altered or synthetic foods. They are often called “superfoods” to indicate their added power.
The Benefits of Eating Nutrient Dense Foods
Research is indicating that nutrient dense foods influence the digestion and metabolization of the core nutrients, which results in greater weight loss. This is because they have a different ratio of nutrients to calories than other foods—they are high in nutrients and proportionally low in calories so they have a lower calorie “price tag.” On the other hand, processed foods are loaded with “empty calories” of little nutritional benefit. This is why we can eat more nutrient dense foods than less nutritious and/or processed foods.
Here are the key functions of nutrient dense foods:
- Stimulate the metabolism to effectively burn fat
- Improve workout endurance and energy levels
- Regulate blood sugar
- Reduce curb cravings and increase satiety
- Boost in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acid
- Help reduce chronic diseases and obesity
Nutrient Dense Foods
The following are some of the more common nutrient dense foods:
- Sweet potatoes or yams
- Lean chicken or turkey breast
- Lean beef
- Salmon or shellfish
…and, OF COURSE, Shakeology! The creators researched long and hard and searched the world for the healthiest nutrient dense ingredients to create an incredible nutritional supplement. And, they did it because it has been independently clinically proven to promote weight loss. It IS my most powerful tool! (Do you have to build a house without power tools? NO. But why would you???).
Did you know that Autumn listed all of the foods on the 21 Day Fix food list in order of nutritional density? SHE DID, so you don’t have to research this yourself! You can find even more nutrient dense foods by clicking on the “Nutrition” tab on this page—Quick Wellness Tips by Coach Monica
Do not get stuck in the mindset that nutrient dense foods are NOT all expensive (this if often just another excuse not to start). Here is a post that will help you stick to your food budget while eating healthy—How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Eating Nutrient Dense Foods
The bad news is that you do need to cook more if you’re eating nutrient dense foods. The GREAT news is that this is NOT difficult. You do NOT need to bury yourself in recipes—my formula for meal prep success is buffet style food prep and it is EASY!
In conjunction with my favorite eating plan on the planet, the 21 Day Fix, once a week I prep several foods, leave out the seasoning, then create meals from them (just like a buffet) throughout the week. This might be a little bit more work than eating out, ordering takeout, or buying processed foods you just toss in the microwave, BUT it is NOT difficult and you will feel better AND lose weight if you follow a solid healthy eating plan.
Here are some SIMPLE and FAST recipes that use nutrient dense foods. I make big batches and eat them throughout the week to save time:
- 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice or water
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- A pinch of sea salt
Healthy toppings (less is more):
- A drizzle of maple syrup
- Cacao nibs
- Dates, berries, or bananas
- Canned pureed pumpkin
- Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Hemp, flax, or chia seeds
- Nut/seed butter
I’m Here to Help!
Here’s the typical pattern I see all the time:
- Someone’s diet is seriously lacking in nutrients and they too much food in the incorrect proportions
- They do not exercise enough (it’s IMPORTANT to combine exercise AND good nutrition!)
- They gain weight
- They try the quick fix fad diets that leave them starving and frustrated
- They go back to their old habits
THE GOAL IS A LIFESTYLE CHANGE—NOT A DIET. Eating nutrient dense foods every day in the right ratios allows us to skip the starvation diets, eat more, and still lose fat. Add exercise into the mix and you’ll get leaner and stronger!
The other recommendation I make is to surround yourself with people who are on the same healthy path because your tribe impacts your vibe. Our FREE coaching program (YES, FREE) includes membership in all of our private accountability Facebook groups—mine (Coach Monica) is centered around Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix eating plan and Coach Dave’s is focused on Shaun T’s awesome programs. Click below to learn more: