Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Nutrient Dense versus Calorie Dense

Sponsored: Nutrient Dense versus Calorie Dense

Have you heard the term "nutrient dense"? This often means something very different than calorie dense.

A food or beverage that is nutrient dense is a good source of nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber. 

A food that is calorie dense is a good source of calories- but usually not a good source of nutrients, or the nutrients may be overwhelmed by the amount of fat, sugar and sodium.

Here are some examples:

Nutrient dense               

  • Apple
  • 3 oz cooked baked chicken
  • Baked potato
  • 8 oz glass of milk

Calorie Dense

Related Items

  • Apple Pie
  • Fried chicken nuggets with sauce
  • French fries
  • 12 oz sugar-sweetened soda

Make more of your choices NUTRIENT dense - rather than CALORIE dense!

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian


Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.