There is a lot of information about nutrition that circulates the internet. A lot of it gets pretty technical and incorporates a lot of factors.
Personally, the worst part about proper nutrition involves counting and measuring. I truly have no desire to weigh my portion sizes or level off a quarter cup of almonds.
I can generally estimate how much of a particular food I am consuming, but I do not match that up against anything that I am “supposed to eat”. If I want to eat a half pound of steak, then I am going to. I can promise you that I am not going to make that sucker into the size of a deck of cards.
My strategy involves planning to eat foods in the amounts that I want, evaluating, adjusting (if necessary), and then enjoying my meals.
A quick disclaimer, I eat:
- · Minimally refined/processed foods
- · Little to no additives
- · A lot of fruit
- · Mostly food that I have cooked myself
- Almost no added sugar
- · Plenty of water (I know it’s not food but whatever)
My proposed system would not work if I was eating a ton of sandwiches, snacks, takeout, etc.
You will only have success by eating foods that you have control over.The above guidelines rule out a lot of roads that would make this system fail.
For example, you’re like me and want to split a pack of steak over two days. The package is 1 pound, therefore ½ pound for each serving.
The beauty in this system is that you do not have literally measure anything yourself. Serving sizes do not matter in the sense that you can only have 24 almonds. Eating 35 almonds will be reflected in your intake, but no one is going to cut off your hand for overeating.
You only will need to weigh or measure if you cannot determine how much you are eating.
To keep track of all the food that I am eating I use SuperTracker on www.choosemyplate.gov. This is what replaced the wonderful food pyramid that we all grew up on.
In it you can make a profile and enter your height, weight, and activity level. From there, it estimates the amount of calories you should take in daily. I am not going to commend its accuracy (as far as individual metabolic rate) here but it’s enough of a guideline to have value.
You can then use the food tracker to enter what you ate during the day. There are different types of measurement that actually make it really easy to track food intake. Making the profile also allows you to track multiple days.
There is also an area that tracks empty calories and how many you should have.
The last step is to run a “Nutrient Report” and it will create a view that breaks down your macronutrients, micronutrients, and daily intake recommendations. I would not suggest looking into this excessively. I look to see that I am eating a correct number of calories and that my percentages are within a normal range. If anything is too low or out of proportion I would make the necessary adjustments.
This allows me to look at my nutrition and determine where I need to make changes, if needed. It is an easy way to keep track and can be accessed from any computer.
What may be the most valuable aspect of using this program is that you can plan ahead. You can enter all of the food you plan on eating the next day and run the report to see if it will be adequate. If not, you can make adjustments before you eat poorly.
Being proactive will always trump a more reactive approach. You will be preventing poor eating before it can happen.
You can also plan a whole week ahead of time to determine what you need to buy, shouldn’t buy, and need to cook upcoming. This kind of information is insanely important.
Inputting foods after you eat them can also be successful, but you must be able to learn from your mistakes. If you are way over calories one day, you need to make an adjustment quickly.
My guess is that most people will be much more successful from solid pre planning than making adjustments as they go. Things come up, priorities change, and poor choices can add up fast.
When it comes to nutrition, I do not want to count things. I would prefer to plan to eat what I have/want, run the report, and make adjustments. Planning out your nutrition can help you balance things out for good health.
No measuring cups, scales, or food diaries are the way to go in my opinion. Good nutritional choices will always benefit from planning ahead.
***I still have my concerns with grains. I try to minimize all grains but I still have some. i figured this out through personal experimentation. Myplate recommends a lot of grains. It is something to tinker with.***