What is Nutrient Density?

Nutrient dense foods are good “bang for your buck.” They have a lot:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber

Why is Nutrient Density Important for People with Down Syndrome?

  • Studies show that people with Down syndrome use 10 to 15 % less energy when at rest than peers of the same size, age and gender.
  • People with Down syndrome need the same nutrients, but they have fewer calories to spend if they want to keep the same weight.
  • Nutrient density is especially important for those trying to lose weight or people with hypothyroidism.

How Do I Choose Nutrient Dense Foods?

  • Emphasize Quality – Choose more nutrient dense varieties of products when available.
  • Encourage Diversity – Eat foods from at least 3 food groups at meals, and 2 at snacks.
  • Implement Gradually – Ease the household into healthier options, one or two at a time.
  • Be Strategic – Separate the changes someone will and will not make.
  • Foster Creativity – Make healthy options fun and exciting.

What Are Nutrient Dense Foods?

  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • Whole-grain, fortified and fiber-rich grains
  • Low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts

How Can I Make Nutrient Dense Foods Fun?

  • Rock Star Foods – Give pictures of Rock Star Foods (nutrient dense foods) and create a chart showing which ones members of the family like best.
  • Meal Makeover – Challenge people to add more nutrient-dense foods to a meal.
  • Mapping Out MyPlate – Determine how well-balanced your diet is by checking off the number of servings you had from each food group during the day.


Rev: 8/2013
This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.

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