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Smart Tips for Getting Nutrients That May Be Lacking

Multi Generation Family Having A Picnic During Mountain Hike

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines provide recommendations for healthy dietary patterns. A pattern of eating is a combination of the foods and beverages you eat and drink over time.

A healthy eating routine includes a variety of foods from each of the food groups. This helps us to get the nutrients at each stage of life. But when we aren’t meeting targets for different food groups, we might be at risk of missing out on certain nutrients, and this can affect our health.


Potassium is important for many of the things your body does. It plays a role in muscle movement, managing blood pressure, and heart and nerve function. Yet, many Americans don’t consume enough of the foods that provide this important nutrient.

Where it’s Found

Vegetables, fruits, and dairy products contain potassium. Good choices include sweet and white potatoes, white beans, kidney beans, plain yogurt, apricots, cooked lentils, acorn squash, and raisins.


Iron is a nutrient of concern specifically for young children and women who are pregnant or capable of becoming pregnant.

Iron is important for growth and development. It also plays an important role in transporting oxygen throughout the body.

Where it’s Found

Iron-fortified cereals and breads, meats, seafood, poultry, and beans are a few examples of foods that provide iron. Including a source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, strawberries or bell peppers can help the body increase its absorption of iron from these foods.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D do more than help with healthy bones. Calcium plays a role in heart health and both calcium and vitamin D are involved with nerve function.

Where it’s Found

Dairy products, like milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Fortified foods and beverages, including soymilk and calcium-set tofu, also provide this important nutrient, as do fish with edible bones, such as sardines and canned salmon, and some types of leafy, green vegetables.

Your body converts sunlight into vitamin D when it hits unprotected skin. However, avoid extended exposure to sunlight without sunscreen.

Foods sources of vitamin D include certain types of fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna, and fortified foods and beverages like milk, soymilk, yogurt, and breakfast cereals.

To identify good sources of these nutrients using the new Nutrition Facts Label, check the % Daily Values (DV).

  • Good source of – Provides at least 10% of the DV of a particular nutrient per serving.
  • High in (or Excellent source of) – Provides 20% or more of the DV of a specified nutrient per serving.

Dietary Fiber

Although the body can’t digest dietary fiber, it plays an important part in healthful eating. Foods with fiber tend to be filling, which may help with weight management. Fiber also promotes regular bowel habits and may lower the risk for certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

Where it’s Found

Dietary fiber can be found in a variety of sources, including whole fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Whole grains, like oatmeal and quinoa, and foods made with whole grains, such as bread, cereal, and pasta, also provide dietary fiber.

Choose foods first for your nutrition needs. If a supplement is needed, be sure to discuss safe and appropriate options with a registered dietitian nutritionist or another healthcare provider before taking.

For more information on nutrition and dietitian services, visit To schedule an appointment call (970) 479-5058.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists. Learn more about National Nutrition Month.

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