I’m enjoying talking a bit more about nutrition these days. Trying to get in one informational post a week, but boy do these take me a lot longer to do than a weekend recap : )
I recently documented a whole day of food – every bite! I measured it all to be accurate and logged it all into My Fitness Pal to see how I am doing against my goals. Note that this isn’t an “I am an ideal eater” showcase but more of a learning experience for me with you as the audience.
The day started bright and early after a not-so-great night of sleep. I made a bowl of whipped banana cottage cheese oats using Coach’s Oats, half a large banana, 1/3 cup 2% milk, 1.33 tbsp sunflower butter, 1/3 cup cottage cheese and a sprinkling of buckwheat groats that totaled 15 grams.
Plus coffee with 1/4 cup frothed milk
Here’s the breakdown:
I’m really happy with the summary of this. Perfect ratios (for me) and an ideal amount of carbs and protein to keep me full all morning. Good fiber too. All of the sugar comes from fruits + milk except a few grams from the sunflower seed butter, but as I’ve said before, I’m much to in love with the stuff to ever give that part of my day up.
Breakfast filled me up from 8am – 1pm without needing any snacks (=why I love big breakfasts!) Lunch rolled around and I put together this plate:
A whole wheat tortilla [Whole Foods brand] with smashed avocado, brie cheese and an egg
Plus a side salad with olive oil, greens, fresh pineapple and salt
The percentages here were not ideal at all. I think this lunch looks pretty balanced, but the cheese, egg and avocado really amped up the fat and while I had a whole tortilla, I could have used more carbohydrate! Protein grams are good, sugars are all naturally occurring and fiber is good. Calories were a little low for me overall, so I probably could have used more carbs.
Which is probably why I went back for some crackers 20 minutes after lunch!! My body must have known it was missing something. My parents left these “Wheat Thins” after their visit. LOVE them but I don’t buy them because I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off!
After that Mazen and I went out on a 4 mile walk. The day was gorgeous and we were gone about an hour and a half. I stopped for a cappuccino while we were out. I’ve been so addicted to them this winter.
When we returned home from our walk around 4:30 I was hungry again, so I had an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
ALSO I made a quinoa salad for a make-ahead meal and tasted that a few times. Evening snacks are also included in this chart – a dark chocolate and a homemade tea latte after dinner.
Snacks were also heavy on the fat and could have probably used more protein. Protein is hard for me for snacks. Some yogurt would have been a nice swap instead of the peanut butter for the afternoon snack. I’m trying to think of other higher protein, lower fat snacks – hummus (which I just don’t like for snacks), maybe a low-fat string cheese? I rely on dairy a lot for my snack proteins (yogurt/milk/cheese) or nut butters/nuts/trail mix.
Finally we come to dinner. My only meat of the day in the form of a homemade bison burger served with ketchup and pickle on a Great Harvest Dakota bun.
Plus a big pile of kale chips – and more ketchup!
Even with that giant bun, dinner percentages were great. Guess I put all my carbs in one basket : )
After dinner, here’s that chocolate I mentioned
Plus a tea latte, which I make by heating about 1/4 cup of milk in the microwave, frothing with my IKEA frother and pouring the hot water on top.
Also of note for the day: multivitamin and about 2 liters of water from my Camelbak. Including the coffee/tea, that’s probably pretty good adequate hydration. I may have had more water during my walk or sips here and there – I can’t remember!
So how did I do?
Calories: Probably a little low for 4 miles and nursing. Should have had a little bit more wholesome real food with lunch. Or perhaps an evening snack, which I didn’t seem to need this night. I believe in a squiggly line for calories, so while I was under today, I bet I was over the next day when I had bigger portions or a beer with dinner.
Carbs: I’m actually surprised this is so low! I probably should have dipped into carbs for those extra calories. Especially with such a long walk.
Fat: I’m surprised this is so high. A good portion of this is from healthy fats – nuts, peanut butter, avocado – and the bison burger is pretty lean, so it’s not really a concern for me. Since this lunch was unusually high in fat, I’m guessing that’s why the whole day was on the higher side percentage wise.
Protein: Ratio is 2% lower than 20, but actual grams are totally fine.
Sugar: Looks high, but nearly all of this came from natural sugars in fruit and dairy, which I don’t worry about. (Added sugars are what I avoid most – like a giant big cupcake or empty sugar in coffee/tea.) This number can always be improved though, so that’s something to keep in the back of my mind. I did eat a lot of fruit this day and don’t always have it for breakfast, lunch and snack. It’s usually just 1-2 of the 3 times. I had a lot of milk in the coffee/tea drinks – also contributing.
Fiber: Excellent and on target.
Final thoughts -
None of this is really “good” or “bad” – more like a moving target to note. So much of eating is going on how you feel and finding the percentages and foods at times of day that make you feel good. My appetite recognized that lunch needed more carbs since I became hungry again so shortly after what should have been a filling meal. In fact, often when I don’t have any Great Harvest bread for lunch I feel emptier sooner.
I’m curious to do more nutrition analyses on a few specific days in the future and really see if I have patterns or if this day was a fluke of sorts. There are definitely days when I eat very differently and days when I have more sweets, no milk, no meat, more meat, lots of yogurt, beans, beer/wine, handfuls of chocolate, etc.
I feel that my balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, meat and nuts on this day was pretty good. Again this is one day – a whole week’s worth of meals would be most telling of how ideal one’s diet is for balanced nutrition (since I didn’t have any orange veggies or beans this day, for example, but might the next). This day was also during the week, and we all know that weekends tend to have more alcohol, sugar and restaurant-sized portions, so again, weekly balance is more important than a one-day snapshot.
And now I’m hungry again!