A 24-hour food diary can be used to analyze a person’s eating pattern in one day. This is critical in identifying the changes that need to be implemented to achieve a balanced diet. Furthermore, it can assist in the selection of healthier food choices that one can enjoy eating. This paper will analyze my personal food choices for a given period. Additionally, it will propose healthier food alternatives that will meet the required nutritional standards.
In my observation, my diet does not meet the required nutritional standards due to various reasons. Firstly, I prefer having my meals at fast food restaurants because I do not like cooking. However, when I decide to prepare my meals, I cook what is available in the house without making any nutritional considerations. Moreover, I prefer cooking meals that are easy to prepare and take short periods to be ready. Most of the meals are high in carbohydrates and proteins like pasta and fried pork chops. My diet does not consist of vegetables, and I rarely eat fruits because they usually go bad before I eat them. Secondly, during the day, I also take junk foods which affect my appetite negatively. Consequently, I force myself to have one big meal per day because I am usually not hungry.
Following the development of the 24-hour food diary, I realized that I need to make a few dietary changes to achieve a healthy diet. My meals should compose of all the required nutrients. I should also take more than one meal a day. There is also a need to increase the amount of sugar in my diet. As a result, I need to eat more food in a day and make healthier food choices.
The analysis of my diet indicated that my protein, fat, vegetable, dairy, grains, and fruits intake were not appropriate for my age and gender. My daily total protein consumption was 40g as opposed to the recommended 46g. On the other hand, my fats consumption was at the maximum recommended amount of 35g. The recommended consumption of vegetables is 2 ½ cups per day, but I did not eat any vegetables. I took some cheesecake which constitutes 19% of dairy vis-à-vis the recommended intake of 3 cups. I consumed more than the recommended amount of grains as I took 7 ounces of white rice. Finally, I took 2 strawberries while I am required to take 2 cups of fruits. Consequently, there is a need to change my eating habits to achieve a healthy diet.
A study conducted by Weichselbaum et al. (2013) established that behavior change is one of the critical factors in promoting a healthy diet. Therefore, I could change my dietary pattern by preparing meals at home at the required time. British Medical Association (2015), further observed that people’s dietary choices are determined by what they can purchase directly, what is provided at home and what is available in other settings. Consequently, I could change my eating habits by ensuring that healthy foods are always available in the house. For instance, I can reduce the fats intake by selecting healthier proteins like salmon, chicken breasts, eggs and beans instead of chicken thighs and ground beef. I could also improve vegetable intake through eating lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes among other vegetables. For dairy, I could substitute cheesecake with milk, cheese, and yogurt. Grains intake could be improved through the consumption of brown rice, corn, and oats as opposed to white rice.
Additionally, I could consume a large variety of fruits including cherries and apples. Similarly, I could introduce other fluids in my diet including natural juices. My water intake could be improved from 1182.94 ml to 2691.19 ml by ensuring that is available and setting up reminders on when to take the water.
In conclusion, the 24-hour diary was a fun exercise that made me realize that I need to make some changes in my dietary pattern. I need to increase the number of meals that I take in a day. I also need to eat the right amount and type of food to achieve an improved diet.
- British Medical Association. (2015). Food for Thought: Promoting Healthy Diets Among Children and Young People. ISBN: 978-0-9575831-3-9
- Weichselbaum, E., Hooper, B., Buttriss, J., Theobald, C., Sgarabottolo, V., Combris, P., &…. Besler, H. (2013). “Behavior Change Initiatives to Promote a Healthy Diet and Physical Activity in European Countries”. Nutrition Bulletin,38, 85-99. doi:10.1111/nbu.12011