My current eating habits include approximately 2600 calories a day, based on what I entered into my Food Diary CheckPoint. Within my diet, I often eat vegetables whenever I think to, including bell peppers, onions, carrots and the like. I often have meat with many meals, including lean chicken breast and ground beef, sometimes ground pork. White rice is a substantial starch I find in my meals. My soda intake consists of almost strictly diet sodas, but they are still a nutrient lacking food that I should restrict. More nutrient-rich foods I occasionally eat include skim milk and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain granola, both in cereal and bar form. I currently eat little fruit, and I often will include bacon as part of my breakfast routine.
Currently, there are many nutrients I am receiving in my diet currently. First, I am receiving a fair amount of water, though not in pure form as much as I'd like. Water facilitates transport of nutrients, regulation of temperature and chemical reactions in the body. I am taking in a lot of protein - nearly half the food I consume is a protein, usually through meat or beans. With protein, I am receiving essential amino acids which help to establish metabolism and produces antibodies and hormones.
Rice is a significant source of the carbohydrates I am receiving; these carbohydrates provide energy and are a building block for other nutrients. I take in plenty of fats (lipids) through the use of corn oil and olive oil to saute and cook vegetables and lean meats. Oils offer energy and are a source of insulation for my body; they also offer immune functions when I take in essential fatty acids. Minerals help to synthesize proteins, strengthen my skeletal system and provide fluid balance in my body - I attempt to get these through vegetables and supplements. Vitamins strengthen bone and organs, help with metabolism and enzyme reactions in the body, and more. I try to get these through what few fruits and vegetables I take in each day, as well milk for calcium and orange juice for vitamin C. Though these are plentiful, I can always use more, and some important nutrients are being left out of the equation. This is why I need to create a new meal plan that follows recommended guidelines.
Entering my information into the Daily Food Plan recommendation list, I received a unique, custom food plan that should help me get the vitamins and minerals I need in my daily life for proper nutrition. It should also help me lose weight and feel healthier, provided I follow the meal plan in a realistic way. These results are based on a 2400 calorie a day pattern for my food intake.
According to the custom Food Plan, I must have 8 ounces (1 cup) of grains a day. The plan recommends that 4 ounces or more of those grains are whole grain. In terms of vegetables, I am recommended that I should eat 3 cups of vegetables every day. Furthermore, I am supposed to aim for certain amounts of each type of vegetables every week. In a seven day period, I am supposed to eat around 2 cups of dark green vegetables, 6 cups of red and orange vegetables, 2 cups of beans & peas, 6 cups of starchy vegetables, and 5 cups of other vegetables.
My daily recommended intake for fruits is 2 cups a day. Recommendations for my fruit intake includes minimizing the amount of fruit juice I drink in a single day, and making sure to have a variety of fruit available. As for dairy, I am meant to have 3 cups of calcium-rich dairy each day - the recommendations include drinking fat-free or low-fat milk, in order to get the same calcium and nutrients I need with not as many calories.
Finally, I am supposed to have 6.5 ounces of protein-rich foods each day. In terms of proteins, I am supposed to stick with lean protein like lean chicken breast and the like; the site recommends that I make seafood my daily protein twice a week. My protein routine should be varied, switching between peas, nuts, seeds and beans instead of meat for more of my choices. Whenever I do eat poultry and meat, I need to keep the portions as small and lean as I can. In terms of my fat, sugar and sodium limits, I can only have up to 7 teaspoons of oils a day, and I am only allowed up to 330 calories of solid fats and sugars a day. I should also work to decrease my sodium intake to 2300mg or less each day.
With this new meal plan in mind, I must now figure out how to implement it in my daily life. First, the most important thing I must do is cut out what I am eating too much. For me, this includes proteins and sugars. In order to combat this, I am going to be cutting down the portions of the meat I have during meals, and substituting a filet of salmon or tilapia instead of chicken or beef twice a week. One way in which I can get a variety of vegetables each day is by incorporating mixed salads more and more into my diet. By buying my own tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushrooms and the like and cutting them up into a salad, I will have a palatable means of intaking the many nutrients I have.
In terms of grains, I am going to start buying whole-wheat bread instead of white bread for whatever sandwiches I make. I will start considering substituting lunchmeats with peanut butter, which is a far healthier protein for me. I wish to increase my milk intake by drinking a glass of skim milk each day, and using lowfat cheeses on sandwiches, vegetables and more. I will move to start consuming a breakfast of lowfat yogurt and whole grain granola every morning.
With fruits, I wish to incorporate an apple, banana or strawberries into my regular diet. Every week, I will experiment with other more exotic fruits, such as pineapple or mango. I will start eating oranges and grapefruit for snacks instead of ingesting sugary, calorie-rich orange juice. I will also reserve my protein for my larger lunchtime meal, and focus on salads and whole grains for a lighter dinner. All of this will be combined with a more rigorous exercise routine of 30 minutes every weekday (to total the 150 minutes a week the Meal Plan on ChooseYourPlate.org recommended).
United States Department of Agriculture (2012). Daily Food Plan. ChooseMyPlate.gov.
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