Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Are you eating a balanced diet?

Grapefruit ----100%DV Happy
(Does winter make you crave citrus? Me too.)

I've been googling around for a good online food diary/calculator to keep track of my vitamin and mineral intake.

Can you suggest one?

Right now, I'm using My Fitness Pal

Their food database is astoundingly comprehensive. * They have my favorite 7 grain Ezekial Bread on file, and the Kroger brand of maple brown sugar instant oatmeal. . .And here's some really good news for us home-cooking types: you can actually type in a recipe and have it calculate the nutritional information per serving.

I appreciate the flexibility and variety of food recording available, but it isn't the best for nutritional tracking.

I think it came pre-set to record Fats, Carbs, Sodium, Protein, or something like that. There are additional options that you can switch to in the Settings (Calcium, Fiber, Vitamin A, etc., you know), but it will only display 4 at a time. So to get a good, all-around picture of your nutrition for the day you have to do a bunch of clicking back and forth.

My sister likes FitDay, but it's definitely more of a weight loss tool. I find their food database highly restrictive, too. If you eat something that isn't in their list (like most of what I ate today, actually...) you have to enter all the nutritional data manually or just pick something that looks fairly similar.

Food Tracking has been a valuable exercise for me...

If it's not something you've ever done, I recommend trying it out.

I'm not a health nut by any means. I mean, I eat a fairly balanced diet and don't skip meals. . .but it's not like I go around drinking carrot juice and nomming chia seeds. Still, I've been really surprised at what I've found out about my eating habits!

For one thing, I need to eat more. (My family members are probably smacking their foreheads and saying Duh.)

Since I don't eat a lot of meat or very fatty foods, my calorie count is often lower than it should be. (Potassium, too, weirdly enough.) By keeping track of what I eat in a handy website that does all the math, I can easily pull it up and observe, "Hmm, I'm short on calcium and protein today." And then go grab some yogurt.

Informed choices, see?

Best part, you can use these websites for free.

So do you think much about what you eat? How do you keep track of your nutrition?

*I've been using the Banana Test to rate these calorie counting websites. The first three I registered at, I instantly quit because I had eaten a banana that day. . .And when I tried to add it. . .Um. It wasn't found. (Bananas are a basic food, right??) Even if they might have had on file a Lean Cuisine Florentine Chicken Whosiwhatsit, and Sugar-Free Obscure Yogurt Flavor. No bananas. Yeah.

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