We hear about “empty calories” all the time but we bet you default to thinking about donuts and cupcakes—when there is a whole host of useless foods out there. And by useless, we mean void of nutrition.
When talking about “nutrient density,” it’s all about the vitamins, minerals, and fiber—in other words, the things that work to fuel and repair your body. Each meal and snack you consume should be seen as an opportunity to nourish your body and fill it with as many nutrients as possible. This is particularly true if you are following a weight-loss or fitness plan because nutrient-dense foods will help you achieve your goals much faster.
“I think of ‘nutritionally empty’ foods as those that can either be higher or lower in calories, but that offer few or no nutrients,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Generally, these foods are also fairly refined or processed.” Resist grabbing the following foods the next time you’re at the store—trust us, they’re not doing your body any favors.