The Most Nutrient Foods on the Planet

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You should choose a diet made of nutrient foods. Nutrient foods are low in sugar, sodium, starches, and bad fats. They contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and few calories. Your body needs vitamins and minerals, known as micronutrients. They nourish your body and help keep you healthy.

They can reduce your risk for chronic diseases. Getting them through food ensures your body can absorb them properly. Try to eat a variety of foods to get different vitamins and minerals. Foods that naturally are nutrient include fruits and vegetables. Lean meats, fish, whole grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds also are high in nutrients.

Below are suggestions for changing your diet to be more nutrient.


Whole-grain foods are low in fat. They’re also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. This helps you feel full longer and prevents overeating. Check the ingredient list for the word “whole.” For example, “whole wheat flour” or “whole oat flour.” Look for products that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Some enriched flours have fiber, but are not nutrient rich.

Choose these Nutrient foods:

  1. – Rolled or steel cut oats.
  2. – Whole-wheat pasta.
  3. – Whole-wheat tortillas.
  4. – Whole-grain (wheat or rye) crackers, breads, and rolls.
  5. – Brown or wild rice.
  6. – Barley, quinoa, buckwheat, whole corn, and cracked wheat.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables naturally are low in fat. They add nutrients, flavor, and variety to your diet. Look for colorful fruits and vegetables, especially orange and dark green.

Choose these Nutrient foods:

  1. – Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  2. – Leafy greens, such as chard, cabbage, romaine, and bok choy.
  3. – Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale.
  4. – Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and pumpkin.
  5. – Snap peas, green beans, bell peppers, and asparagus.
  6. – Apples, plums, mangos, papaya, pineapple, and bananas.
  7. – Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, and grapes.
  8. – Citrus fruits, such as grapefruits and oranges.
  9. – Peaches, pears, and melons.
  10. – Tomatoes and avocados.

Meat, poultry, fish, and beans

Beef, pork, veal, and lamb

Choose low-fat, lean cuts of meat. Look for the words “round,” “loin,” or “leg” in their names. Trim outside fat before cooking. Trim any inside, separable fat before eating. Baking, broiling, and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare these meats. Limit how often you eat beef, pork, veal, and lamb. Even lean cuts contain more fat and cholesterol compared to other protein sources.


Chicken breasts are a good cut of poultry. They are low in fat and high in protein. Remove skin and outside fat before cooking. Baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare poultry.


Fresh fish and shellfish should be damp and clear in color. They should smell clean and have a firm, springy flesh. If fresh fish isn’t available, choose frozen or low-salt canned fish. Wild-caught oily fish are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This includes salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Poaching, steaming, baking, and broiling are the healthiest ways to prepare fish.

Beans and other non-meat sources

Non-meat sources of protein also can be nutrient rich. Try a serving of beans, peanut butter, other nuts, or seeds.

Choose these Nutrient foods:

  1. – Lean cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb.
  2. – Turkey bacon.
  3. – Ground chicken or turkey.
  4. – Wild-caught salmon and other oily fish.
  5. – Haddock and other white fish.
  6. – Wild-caught tuna (canned or fresh).
  7. – Shrimp, mussels, scallops, and lobster (without added fat).
  8. – Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  9. – Seeds and nuts, including nut butters.

Dairy and dairy substitutes

Choose skim milk, low-fat milk, or enriched milk substitutes. Try replacing cream with evaporated skim milk in recipes and coffee. Choose low-fat or fat-free cheeses.

Choose these Nutrient foods:

  • – Low-fat, skim, nut, or enriched milk, like soy or rice.
  • – Skim ricotta cheese in place of cream cheese.
  • – Low-fat cottage cheese.
  • – String cheese.
  • – Plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream.

Things to consider

Most nutrient foods are found in the perimeter (outer circle) of the grocery store. The amount of nutrient foods you should eat depends on your daily calorie needs. USDA’s website offers nutrition information for adults and children.

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