Nutrient Density

Big aim of the day is to start eating much healthier.  I am going to focus on foods that are nutrient dense.

Nutrient Density is used to measure how many nutrients are in a food compared to how many calories they contain.  Foods with a higher nutrient density value contain more nutrients for each calorie consumed than foods with a lower nutrient density value.  A site I often use to check the nutritional value of foods is The World’s Healthiest Foods.  They give a basic explanation of nutrient density here.

Wholefoods Market uses ANDI scores – “ANDI stands for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities”.  You can look up the ANDI scores on the Wholefoods website here.  It is very interesting.  The highest scores are some of the green leaved plants: mustard, turnip and collard greens and kale and watercress.  So I am going to make sure I eat lots of those.  Where can I buy collard greens?

The ANDI score is very interesting but be aware that you must also eat some of the foods that have a lower score because they have calculated the score against calorie values.  Some of the lower scoring foods, such as healthy fats are essential for health.  Being mindful of that, I am going to try and add more of the higher scoring foods in to my diet on a daily basis and also ensure I include the healthy foods even though they have lower scores.

So, having said all that, how did I do today?

I began the day with a green smoothie.

A huge handful of spinach (especially good for vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, tryptophan, calcium and potassium).

4 dates (useful amounts of fibre, copper, calcium, potassium).

1 cup of cottage cheese (low fat source of protein and useful amounts of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus and selenium).

1 cup of hemp milk (good source of protein, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium and zinc).

1 cup of frozen berries (excellent source of vitamin C plus vitamin K, manganese and fibre).

Le voila, a green smoothie, that came out brown again!

For lunch I made a black bean salad recipe from WH Foods and you can find their recipe here.

Black Bean Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • juice from 1 lemon (approx 3 tbsp)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 large or 8 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • kernels from 1 corn cob
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • salt and pepper

To make it you put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and serve.

I served this with mixed lettuce leaves and some of the butternut squash I roasted the other day.

I completely enjoyed this lunch.  It was very tasty, colourful, good variety of textures and I knew it was packing in the nutrients.  This would be suitable for vegans.

The male members of the family had a small portion of black bean salad with a chicken and mushroom pie.  Left to their own devices, they would have been perfectly content with pie alone.  However, we negotiated.  I said they shouldn’t have pie at all as it is unhealthy so they had it with salad.  I thinks that’s a good compromise.  I was really pleased when James asked if he could have some more black bean salad 🙂

I bought some cranberries last week as several of the magazines I brought back from Florida had cranberry recipes in them.  Not just because it was Thanksgiving but because it is cranberry season.  I had noticed 2 recipes fro cranberries with pork chops and we were having pork chops.  I didn’t have the correct ingredients so I made up my own sauce and served it with the pork.

Cranberry and Orange Sauce


  • 200 g cranberries
  • pith and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 star anise
  •  ¼ cup of brown sugar


  • wash and drain cranberries and place in small saucepan
  • add pith and juice of orange, star anise and brown sugar
  • bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes with lid on, stirring occasionally
  • turn off and leave with the lid on to cool

Cranberries and orange pith are so vibrant.  Cranberries are an excellent source of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Star anise adds an interesting flavour.

Cranberry sauce – such a vibrant and jewel like colour.

Pork chop, cranberry sauce, Hasselback potatoes, green beans, carrots and broccoli.

Hasselback potatoes are made by thinly slicing the potato about 3/4 of the way down, basting with melted butter and oil.  They take about an hour to cook in a hot oven (200 ° C).  They are crispy on top and soft potato near the bottom.  Delicious.  High in fat for a healthy diet but as a little treat, delicious.

To be healthy we have to exercise and today was perfect walking weather.  The Autumn leaves were absolutely stunning.



This must surely be the most colourful time of year!




Don’t let the sunshine,  shorts and t-shirt fool you.  It was only 5 ° outside!

But someone can not resist jumping in puddles.

He nearly fell this time but managed to regain balance just in time.

We didn’t suddenly walk in to a low cloud – Harvey was steaming!

Walking in the forest today was incredibly beautiful.  The colours were so intense and the air was so clear.  It was stunning.  I ate really well, apart from the wine I am enjoying just now.  Cheers 🙂

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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10 Responses to Nutrient Density

  1. laura1952 says:

    Awesome. Again, I loved all the rainbow of colours in both your food and your Fall colours. The cranberry sauce recipe looks awesome as well as the hasselback potatoes and I have to steal. I will probably make mine without the butter. LOL, who am I kidding. You can only get that colour because of the butter!

    Did you cut up the star anise into pieces. I have never made anything with it, but have tasted it alone.

    Oh, I am having a glass of homemade red Beaujolais as I type this and guarantee you that wine is good for you. Especially when you detox the liver first thing in the morning with lemon. I know you hate the cayenne.

    • I am pleased you noticed all the colours in the dish. I try to eat as many different colours a day as I can.
      I just took a Star Anise out of the jar and thought it looked so lovely I sat it on its side, lay the camera across the countertop to be level with it and took the picture. I am pleased with that one.

  2. laura1952 says:

    This is what I found online about buying Collard Greens in UK. It seems to be a rareity to find, but you can substitue.

    “Collard greens are a member of the cabbage family, in Indian markets fresh fenugreek is closest, even at the regular produce shops and grocery’s a head of savoy cabbage is a good substitute.

    When I was in Liverpool helping out a friend in his bistro, he wanted to make a southern US special dinner one night and as I am versed in US cuisine we use the cabbage for it, adding some fresh spinach to will green it up. Broccoli, Kale and Kohlrabi leaves to can be helpful.”

  3. Its funny how it all goes a sludgy green when the component colours are so vivid!! A bit like oil paints, which end up that colour when all mixed together. I want to tell you about a meal I made up for myself last night – puy lentils, gently cooked alone, then combined with leeks [fried in olive oil], a few pieces of chorizo, also in same pan, garlic, add in the lentils, several chopped up sun dried tomatoes, a generous sprinkling of ground chili [you could use fresh, I didn’t have any], season, small knob of butter and a small amount of grated cheese on top. It was absolutely delicious. Totally my kind of food.

  4. Watercress is also very high and you can grow that in your own back yard – I do! I have an old water tank, and I have some plants floating on the surface in those polystyrene plant containers – although water cress likes grow in flowing water, it thinks it is because it is moving in the containers everytime the wind blows…

  5. Dora says:

    It’s wonderful that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our argument made here.

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