Fiber and Sugar
We recently wrote about using fiber as a barometer of a food's nutritional value. When you choose among different food options, go for higher-fiber foods. They generally have more vitamins and minerals than their low fiber counterparts. On food labels, look for at least 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. And eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which are great sources of fiber.
Here's another shortcut for making smart food choices: Avoid (or at least be aware of) products in which sugars appear early in the food label's ingredients list. These products are probably higher in calories and lower in nutrients than products made with less sugar. Note that "sugars" include ingredients with different names: fructose, glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweeteners, and honey, among others.