Are you well fed but undernourished? Want to find out for yourself?

Published October 9, 2020

By Priya Venkatesan, RDN Pasadena City College

What's the Story?

Since the 1940s, scientific researchers have recommended different amounts of nutrients needed daily to prevent deficiency and promote good health in humans. Because nutrient needs change with age, and because needs are different for men and women, different sets of recommendations were developed for each nutrient based on an individual’s age and gender.

In the 1990s, nutrition researchers identified expanded roles for many nutrients. Though nutrient deficiencies were still an important issue, research suggested that higher amounts of some nutrients could play a role in disease prevention.

Also, as consumers began using more dietary supplements and fortified foods, committee members grew concerned that excessive consumption of some nutrients might be as unhealthy as, or even more dangerous than, not consuming enough.

Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025

The new Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans is almost here. Here is a sneak peek at what the Dietary Guidelines hopes to do for the people living in the United States.

What is the 30 for 30 Activity?

  • Know your 30 micronutrients
  • Identify the nutrient dense food choices
  • Combine the two pieces of information as “30 foods to get 30 nutrients”
  • Take one additional step to identify metric units in Nutrition


The 30 nutrients include the 4 fat-soluble vitamins, the 9 water-soluble vitamins, 10 trace minerals, and the 7 macrominerals.

Here are your 30 micronutrients that play an important role in everyday health:

  • A D E K
  • B1 B2 B3 B6 B12 Biotin Pantothenic Acid Folate Vitamin C
  • CCCSFIMZIM: Copper, Chromium, Cobalt, Selenium, Fluoride, Iodine, Molybdenum, Zinc, Iron, Manganese
  • CCSPPMS: Calcium, Chloride, Sulfur, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Sodium

How can you get these"30 Nutrients" from less than 30 foods?

Critical Thinking Questions:

  • What are the functions of micronutrients?
  • Foods generally are a mix of a wide variety of nutrients.
  • Organize goods you eat regularly into groups that provide the body with the different micronutrients.

Put Them Together

Here is an example of what your student can put together. You can continue this activity with metric unit measurements and conversions for each of the 30 nutrients.

Priya Vankatesan – Pasadena City College

Hello! I am Priya Venkatesan, and I cover Nutrition topics that encourage curiosity and wonder, food trends to better connect with ourselves, deconstructed eating tricks that are different every month, a bit of Biochemistry magic that connects the gut to the brain, and tons of Public Health @ Pasadena City College in gorgeous LA!

I am incessantly curious about the learning process, remembering strange facts, forgetting useful information, and changing routines in the classroom. I am alert to ideas and possibilities and am always looking for a new story to share in my classroom.

People are my favorite subject and more recently, metacognitive strategies, colorful doors, and the differences between prebiotics and probiotics! Cheers! Glad you are here to listen to a new story today!