STAYING FIT: Do you know what you are eating?
While I have spent a great deal of time researching and experimenting with different workout routines or fitness exercises, I have not devoted as much time to the nutrition side of staying fit. I generally try to eat fairly healthy.
I try to stay away from processed foods, and eat more fresh foods, increase the amount of fruits and vegetables, and do my best to stick to only one dessert a day. If you would ask me, I’d tell you I think I’m eating pretty well. But I would not be able to tell you with any accuracy how much I was consuming, or the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, much less what exactly I had eaten in a given day.
A few weeks ago I came across a website that is amazingly easy to use and is a great nutrition tool. It’s called Daily Plate (www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate
). You enter basic information like your current weight and goal and then proceed. It takes only a couple of minutes to get started. Based on the information I entered, Daily Plate told me how many calories I needed each day to achieve my goal (maintain current weight). This site is both effective and popular as nearly 2.8 million people are using it.
I decided to give it a go for a week to see if it was easy to use and whether it helped me in paying attention to what was eating. Wow! I was impressed the moment I began to enter the food I ate that day. I hadn’t even typed in the full “Honey Nut Cheerios” before a list of “recognized” food popped up and I simply clicked on the proper one.
Daily Plate has a library of more than 1.25 million foods, including restaurant foods. All the carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, sugars, and calories are already calculated and automatically entered. It literally took me a few seconds to enter the food I ate that day.
Daily Plate showed me the complete breakdown in an easy-to-read chart. It gave me a pie graphic to show the distribution of fats, carbs, and proteins. I could easily tell how well I had eaten that day. The site also allows you to enter your fitness exercises (with over 1,500 activities to choose from) so you know how many calories you have burned that day.
After a week, I noticed that several days I consumed a lot more sodium than I ever would have thought. I could see that easily half my daily calories were from carbohydrates. These insights really surprised me. I never would have guessed on my own. Daily Plate gave me facts I could use to make changes in what I eat. I wasn’t eating as healthy as I led myself to believe.
I recommend Daily Plate to you as it is a great help in tracking what you eat, and it does so very easily. Once you see what you are eating, you can more easily make decisions for your better health and fitness.
Do you have a topic you would like to see addressed in Staying Fit? Just drop me an email at the address below and I’ll do my best to get it in this column. Keep moving!