The aim of the paper is to evaluate my dietary consumption in order to gain an awareness of the food that I consume and to determine whether it is healthy and contributing positively to my overall health and nutrition. The paper will focus on my 7-day dietary food-log for the purpose of analysis in order to determine the kinds of food that are providing me with the required nutrients and how my dietary consumption can be altered to facilitate a healthier nutritional intake.
I have comparatively healthy eating habits because all my meals are balanced, containing enough fresh fruit, and vegetables. But, my calorie consumption is insufficient for an individual of my age and activity level. According to the Calorie Calculator, I need 2361 kcla every day to maintain a healthy weight, but my average calorie intake over seven days was 1307kcal. This is a difference of 1054 calories. I am currently at a healthy weight with a BMI of 19.7 according to the BMI calculator. If I continue with the bad eating habits of skipping breakfast and lunch on some days, I will experience energy deprivation, unhealthy bingeing due to intermittent fasting, and I may become underweight. As such, I need to eat heavier snacks, more calorie-packed lunches and lighter dinners. I am working to get sixty percent of my calories from carbohydrates, thirty percent from fats and proteins. I am glad that my fiber intake is healthy with plenty of whole grain bread and rice, having consumed seventy-nine percent fiber in the one week period. However, this can always be increased by replacing the white rice with brown rice.
I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast because of getting up late in the morning and having no time to eat. On the days that I have skipped breakfast, I have struggled with very low energy levels even though I am accustomed to going on an empty stomach in the morning hours for two to three times per week. Considering that I am a college student, I understand that my brain and body need glucose in the morning so that I can function effectively.
Eating breakfast is an effective factor in a weight maintenance program. If I don’t make a habit of eating breakfast every day, I will become underweight. It is also true that people who do not eat breakfast are most likely going to snack on high-fat food or overeat at dinner. I can observe from my food chart that I had a heavy snack after my morning classes when I went without breakfast. I am glad, however, that the snack consisted of healthy wholemeal bread.
I also find that I have a more anxious and moody temperament on the mornings that I go without breakfast which is bad for my concentration and interaction with people. Additionally, not eating breakfast increases my chances of being hypoglycemic, or having low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, weakness, shakiness, and a rapid heart rate, some of which I have experienced, especially the headaches and dizziness in extreme cases when I have skipped both breakfast and mid-morning snack.
After gaining a better understanding of my diet and food consumption, I will most certainly change my diet intake to a higher amount of carbohydrates and proteins, and increase the healthy fruit and vegetables. I will start and maintain a habit of going to bed early so that I can wake up early to allow enough time for a healthy breakfast to set me on a healthy and energized start to the day. To prevent losing too much weight, I will be accompanying my one fruit snack with nuts or a light sandwich that will also boost my caloric intake. I will substitute my Vegetarian Chili and Vegetarian Fajita with Meat Chili and Fajitas. I will instead eat my vegetables in the form of healthy salads during dinner or lunch, or both whenever possible.
To increase my carbohydrate intake, I will need to include more healthy starch in my diet such as yam, potatoes and a variety of breads such as seeded or granary bread. I will also increase my portions by one-third to increase my energy levels. This will be supplemented with an active lifestyle. As it is now, I am fairly active, living the typical college life. In my free time, I swim and take long walks. But on the weekends, I mostly sleep in to repay the week-long sleep debt. I will take more time away from my bed to increase movement, heart rate, and ultimately to spike up my energy levels.
My fluid intake is fairly good. I get most of my water from milk, and breakfast beverages, with the occasional glass of water when I get very thirsty. But I believe that I need to hydrate more, by increasing my fruit intake and plain water intake so as to aid in digestion and overall health. I need to cut out Coca Cola and replace it with fresh juice or succulent fruit such as grapefruit, oranges, mangoes, and tangerines. Coca Cola contains too much sugar, and although I am not trying to lose any weight, it is not a healthy food choice. Coffee is also a beverage that I can perhaps do without even though it contributes to my daily fluid requirement. But, coffee is a diuretic, meaning that it will make me urinate often, hence increasing my risk for dehydration. While it does not acutely affect my health and hydration considering that I take it occasionally, it may not be a significant issue in my dietary intake. All in all, water is my best option to keep hydrated. It is cheap and caffeine free! Instead of coffee in the morning, I will take fruit juice. On the mornings when I am in a hurry, I will have a quick cereal with whole milk.
My breakfast could use more whole grains, such as whole bran cereal, oats, and muesli, and less of black sweetened coffee, bagels, sweeteners, and bread. I could also do more with soft boiled eggs and meats once in a while, for example, one to two times per week. I could also incorporate an afternoon snack to my diet plan in order to maintain a healthy body weight. In addition to the afternoon snacks, I could use some dessert with my lunch or dinner a few times a week. The afternoon snacks may consist of nuts, smoothies, or light sandwiches made from thinly sliced whole bread, vegetables, and sauces such as mustard and tomato sauce. An afternoon snack would contribute to a higher calorie intake, which would prevent me from eating too much at night. A lighter meal at night would allow for more comfortable sleep and digestion.
I need to regulate my meals by eating at the same time every day. To achieve this, I need to give structure to my eating habits so as to make eating an important and regular part of my daily living. Having a structured eating schedule will enable me to eat enough of the right foods. Once the habit of eating meals and snacks is firmly in place, I can then adjust the food content and sizes accordingly as opposed to simply eating impassively because it is time to eat or because I am really hungry. A regular food schedule will help me to combat skipped meals, irregular, or delayed eating. As such, it will help me to prevent binge eating because I will avoid the intense hunger that causes me to binge eat. Regular meals will keep my blood-sugar level stable to reduce the feeling of irritability and tiredness. Also, my metabolism will be steady. I understand that if I go for more than four to five hours without eating in the course of the day, my body will go into ‘starvation’, and it will go into stress mode to prepare for a lack of food. ‘Starvation’ lowers the metabolic rate to preserve energy. For that reason, the next meal consumed will be metabolized for the purpose of storing up energy which leads to weight gain.
After I have set s regular structure, I will be able to plan my meals in advance. I will know when my next meal or snack will be and I will have a plan as to what to eat at that time. I tend to blame a lack of time as my reason to skip breakfast or lunch. However, time is made for important things so I must make time to eat. To practice this, I need to consider my meals and my snacks as an important part of my day and to prioritize eating over doing other things such as reading, watching television, or sleeping. When I prioritize accordingly, I will not leave a space of more than four hours in between meals and snacks. Since my college schedule will not allow me to shorten the gaps between my eating because of some extremely tight schedules, I will make sure to increase my portions instead to supply me with the energy to run around during the day. I need to be sufficiently prepared for the frequent meals in the day. I will start to carry an easy-to-eat snack in my backpack or my car, for example, a bag of dried fruit or nuts, fruit, or a muesli bar.
The outcome of my dietary evaluation indicates that my nutrient consumption is good but it could be better. Just because I eat a lot of whole grain does not necessarily mean that my diet is healthy overall. I need to increase fruit and vegetables and to eat regularly so that my digestive system is not always in shock, which could lead to issues such as constipation or calorie retention. Not having time for breakfast is not an excuse to skip breakfast altogether. I can always create time for breakfast by going to bed early enough so that that I have had enough sleep by morning.
A dietary analysis is a practice that should be carried out on a more regular basis because it is only by writing down our food habits that one can see clearly how they are treating their bodies by what they eat. Having awareness will make one think twice next time they reach for fast food or unhealthy beverages such as soda.
Based on my food intake, I am not consuming enough calories to fit my daily requirements. I need to increase my calories by one-third by including more variety to my snacks and by eating regular sizeable portions of foods rich in healthy starch. In the two days that I skipped breakfast and the one day that I skipped lunch too, my calorie intake was too low which translated into low energy levels and nutrient deprivation.
I must make these changes very soon so that I will not plunge into underweight and compromise my nutrient consumption. While the changes that I need to make are negligible, it will take discipline. I need to do is add on to what is already there, include more variety in my diet, increase my portions, maintain a regular eating schedule, avoid skipping meals, and add an afternoon snack and occasional dessert after lunch or dinner. This analysis has helped me to see that although I may be at a healthy weight with a good BMI, I may not be as healthy as I want to be.