Eat Well to Live Well

3 Jun

If you want to live a life of wellness, an important step is to eat well.  In my previous post, A Wellness State of Mind, I told you to “live intentionally”.  This statement applies here too.  We need to eat intentionally.  Many times I think we just eat without giving much thought to what we are consuming, or how much.  I found a really great website that can help bring awareness to what and how much you should be eating.  Check it out at choosemyplate.gov.

On this website you can create a profile for yourself.  You can type in your age, gender, current weight and your goal weight and it will tell you how many calories per day are recommended to achieve that weight goal.  It also has a food tracker section.  Here you can enter the food you have eaten and it will tell you how many calories you’ve eaten and it even divides the calories up according to the food groups, displaying a bar chart so you can see how much more or less you should eat from each food group.  It will also track how much fat and salt you are consuming.

It is important that you factor in the little things, like mayo, butter or margarine.  Each of these contain about 100 calories per tablespoon!  Mustard on the other hand contains only about 3 calories.

Beverages too need to be factored in.  One cup of orange juice will give me 122 calories and provide 67% of my daily fruit quota, but it would not satisfy my hunger for long.  Eating an orange on the other hand will provide 62 calories and 48% of my fruit quota.  So, if I eat an orange and drink water, I will feel fuller longer with fewer calories.

I entered everything I ate yesterday.  Here’s the chart:

My food intake yesterday

As you can see, I failed to eat enough from the dairy and grains categories, and overdid it in the fruits & vegies.  The graphic display really helps for me.  I know I need to eat more dairy, but seeing it displayed like this makes me want to try harder.  My total intake came in 167 calories below the recommended amount, so I could have eaten some yogurt or drank some milk to help me boost my dairy intake.  I had toast with peanut butter for breakfast.  I didn’t use butter or margarine – saving me 100 calories.  If you’re not careful, you can use up a lot of your calories on stuff like butter meaning you will have to give up something else to stay within the recommended range.

I’m not suggesting that you do this every day, but if you fill in this chart a few times, being totally honest about quantity and the little extras, it will just give you a little more insight about your eating habits.

Parents – how often do you eat the food that you offered your kids, but they didn’t finish.  Just a little nibble here and there – you need to count this too.

Try it, it’s kinda fun!  After you try this for a day or two, send me a comment sharing what surprized you about your diet.

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