Individual Food Intake Essay
Individual Food Intake
After using the food assessment tool at www.choosemyplate.gov I found that my daily intake of food was not sufficient for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many of my goals were not achieved or were overachieved. This assessment revealed an imbalance in my eating habits. Like many Americans I am on the run and constrained by time. Going to school and working fulltime often forces me to eat quickly and make hurried choices. Often my choices are not in my best health interest but rather based on what is fast. When I have time, I tend to try to make better eating decisions but this is not sufficient for a good diet.
In accordance with the Food Guide Pyramid I fell short in many areas of necessary consumption and went over in other areas. For the three day period I went over in grains (14.5 oz.) and over in proteins (10.5 oz.). I was insufficient with vegetables (1 cup), fruits (3/4 cup), and dairy (1 cup). What I found disturbing was that the bulk of the items I went over on was not balanced across three days but was instead committed on one to two days of the tracker. This means that on one day I had reached limits. This could be seen clearly on the third day and specifically with regard to lunch and my numbers jumped dramatically.
I believe that I need to reshape my diet around the six classes of nutrients. The six nutrients include:
Each of the six nutrients is necessary in varying degrees in the body. Using the Food Pyramid I can identify the levels of nutrient intake and then design my diet in accordance with balancing these numbers. For example, I eat a banana each day but this only provides me with a portion of the fruit intake I need and thereby cuts down on the vitamins and minerals I receive. By increasing my fruit intake I can increase this number but this is only part of the solution. I need to add more variety of food which will better encompass the wide range of nutrients needed. For example, strawberries and blueberries could be added to my diet and this would increase antioxidant intake as well as vitamins such as C.
It is not just fruit intake that would need to be altered in this way; vegetables and meats also need to be examined. The intake of green vegetables would help to increase vitamin A, foliate, and iron, among other essentials. By expanding my varieties of foods I can incorporate this into my diet, as well as the elimination of certain types of foods could be used to increase nutrient intake such as removing the fast food burger in lieu of leaner fish which contains higher levels of Omega 3 and better quality proteins. Leaner meats that do not require heavy cooking also require less energy for the body to process and provide more useful calories.
By modifying my diet in accordance with the Food Pyramid, I believe I can become healthier. The key is to determine the different foods that I will need to incorporate into my diet and to find the quantity that balances my caloric intake. For this I will need to do some research because I still need my diet to be somewhat convenient as well as nutritionally balanced.
I believe it should also be mentioned that the level of fats that are taken in should be monitored as well, because almost a third of my diet was empty calories which had no nutritional value. There was also a very high sodium intake and my saturated fats were over the limit. These issues present many long term concerns which need to be addressed. This diet failure also explains my feelings of fatigue and my propensity for illnesses. My body has simply not been receiving the nutrients and levels that it needs to properly function. By watching these numbers I should be able to increase energy and make sure that my future health is strong. I also need to watch what I consume because my mother has had colon cancer, so the healthier I eat the chances are less that I will contract that cancer.
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