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Nutrient Dense Foods

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Nutrient Dense Foods

Did you know that research suggests that the American diet is energy rich, but nutrient poor?


Whether you are fueling your body for your kickboxing or strength training classes at Farrell’s, or for gearing up for a marathon, what you put into your body is incredibly important.


You may have heard of the term “empty calories”, which means that a food provides calories (energy), but very little nutrients. For example, are you ever able to finish an entire bag of chips, and still be hungry? This phenomenon can strongly be attributed to the food being consumed lacking nutrients. 


Nutrient dense foods are full of various nutrients, but are relatively low in calories-and typically filled with fiber (helping to decrease hunger and keep you full for longer). Studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in nutrient dense foods has the potential to help decrease body fat, lower disease risk, and increase overall health.


There are 6 essential nutrients that our bodies require: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and good ‘ol H20. 


These nutrients fall into two different categories: micronutrients, and macronutrients. Our bodies require macronutrients in larger amounts as they provide our body with energy (calories). However micronutrients, as their name might suggest, our bodies require in smaller amounts for normal physiological function. 


Micronutrients are also made up of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for immune function, energy production, blood clotting, and various other bodily functions. Minerals play an important role in growth, fluid balance, bone health, and many other biological processes.


Nutrient dense foods contain complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Foods like vegetables, fruits, fish, lean meat, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans are incredible examples of nutrient dense food choices. When you choose to fuel your body with more nutrient-dense foods, you will not only get the benefits of providing your body with nutrients, but your body's needs will be met without consuming too many calories.


To obtain more nutrients from your food, try these suggestions:

Instead of sugar cereal, try whole grain oats with fresh berries

Instead of white rice, try brown rice or quinoa

Instead of sour cream/cheese, try nonfat greek yogurt

Instead of sweet desserts (cookies, cake, brownies) try a bowl of fresh fruit or frozen mangos, or protein powder mixed into greek yogurt, topped with frozen cherries

Instead of chips or pretzels try crunchy vegetables and hummus, or nuts

Instead of mayo, try avocado spread, or hummus

Instead of fruit juice or soda, try water infused with lemon, cucumber and mint, or whatever fruits/herbs you enjoy

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