Wright said there are a number of factors that determine how healthy a food is.
Nutrient density is one of them.
“Nutrient density is the amount of healthful nutrient in ratio to the calorie content. A food that has high nutrient density, such as fruits and vegetables, has many nutrients and fewer calories. A food that has low nutrient density, such as soda or candy, has few nutrients and a lot of calories,” she said.
When it comes to selecting foods, Wright said healthy choices will depend on the health goals of the individual.
“It’s important for a person to look at their current habits and lifestyle and define what their health goals are,” she said. “Do they want to lose weight? Do they want to increase their energy level? This will help prioritize the foods they choose.”
“I would recommend working with a registered dietitian that can individualize a plan to improve your habit and your health goals,” she added.
As a starting point to making healthier choices, Hunnes said it’s a good idea to limit processed foods and focus on plant-based choices.
“I always strongly recommend incorporating more unprocessed foods into the diet (i.e. fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and reducing the amount of animal-based foods in the diet (this includes milk, meat, chicken, and fish, as there is a lot of data supporting the fact they may be inflammatory). Where it may be difficult to afford or find fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen are a wonderful and equally healthy substitute and are often cheaper,” she said.
“Food should always look good and taste good. No one will want to eat healthy food that does not taste good. Too often, people have become so used to the flavors of processed foods that are salty, fatty, sugary, that we forget what real, unadulterated food tastes like. So, that’s first and foremost,” Hunnes noted.
This content was originally published here.