Here I am, trying to be all healthy and stuff, but I keep going over my sugar allotment. Now I am not getting obsessed and counting each calorie, gram of sugar and ounce of protein, but thanks to the aforementioned app, My Fitness Pal, I don’t have to. It is easy to realize that I am going over my recommended 28 grams a day because the app tells me so at the bottom of each daily report. Now if I were just in the red once or twice a week, it would be one thing, but I see those bright red numbers every day! So much so that it has me concerned. Part of me is even questioning if the app is wrong. Where does My Fitness Pal get their numbers from? Is it even accurate? More so, is it even possible to stay within the 25-30 gram range and still get all nutrients I need to make up a balanced diet today?
This is what my food log looks like so far today:
As you can see, I have not gone over the top…no jelly toast, frosted doughnuts or caramel frappe for breakfast or anything. But I am already over my sugar by 9 grams and I still have the majority of my day left to go. In hindsight, I would have saved the grapefruit juice for my husband, but it was even no sugar added, 100% grapefruit juice.
What inspired this post was me sitting here at work trying to decide what my afternoon pre-workout snack should be. I narrowed it down to a banana or Greek yogurt. Then I looked at my food log. I was planning to have the Greek yogurt (23 grams of sugar) because it has the protein I am lacking (14 grams of protein). (I missed Meatless Monday yesterday thanks to my pesto chicken, so I am making up for it today.) Now I am conflicted. I know #firstworldproblems … but I really am trying to make good life choices here…and at the same time…I don’t want to be debating with myself over a small cup of yogurt. Now that I’ve vented to the internet, I will probably still eat the yogurt, but try again tomorrow and stay under my limit (maybe).
If you have any ideas or have struggled similarly with sugar, I’d love to hear about it! Where’s a good nutritionist when you need one?!
What the sugar?!
I recently got an iPhone and wanted to share a few apps that I would highly recommend while attempting to create a “healthier you”.
One being “Fooducate”. This app evaluates foods and beverages that you scan or input in relation to what nutritional aspects are most important to you (i.e. cholesterol, gluten, GMOs, etc.) while personalizing by your body type (BMI, gender, weight goals, etc.). Each food that you scan in via barcode or look up from their database is given a letter grade (A+ being the best for you). Although this may lengthen the grocery shopping / meal planning process, it helps in making the best decisions whether at home standing in front of your fridge or comparing in the middle of the grocery aisle. It is one I trust and find extremely easy to use thus far.
Secondly, the My Fitness Pal app. This is a site I’ve actually used for a while, but find really helpful when evaluating my diet. I have not used it religiously since March until this week, and I realized how much more I think about what I am putting into my body and the quantity. Even when trying to just maintain weight, this is important and requires little effort on my part. I simply enter calories in and calories out (what I eat & how much/type of exercise) and My Fitness Pal keeps track of my daily calorie “allotment”. Even though I don’t follow it religiously, it is a great guideline and does influence my diet.
Just thought I’d share a few tricks of the social diet trade!
We had a fabulous vacation with my family touring the coast of California and around two beautiful National Parks (Sequoia & Kings Canyon).
BUT, travelling while trying to eat a clean and healthy diet did prove challenging. I did intentionally try to select more healthful options and insert veggies and whole grains whenever possible, but I will not lie, half my plate was not fruits and vegetables every night! The good news is, I gained less than two pounds and truly did enjoy myself and my food/wine in the process. We have now been back for a week and got right back into the routine, so I’m feeling better about it. Even while I was baking this week I made a few (some would say risky) substitutions such as whole wheat flour and coconut oil and I did not feel like my bread or cookies were compromised in the process. Tomorrow I will post how my days matched up with the USDA recommendations this past week, so stay tuned!
One Week Down…and this really isn’t that challenging. Perhaps I’m at a healthier stage in life than I originally thought, or maybe I should find higher standards. There are a few questions I’d like to discuss with a nutritionist…for example: This veggie breakdown of the five categories, how critical is it to get those recommended amounts in each category? For example, the starch vegetable category (corn, green peas, white potatoes) I had none of last week but have still been meeting my daily vegetable requirements with all the other categories. Also, I do love a lot of red & orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots) but is really reasonable to get 5 cups of them in a week? Especially in the summertime when Sweet potatoes and butternut squash, etc. are not in season. I did meet the requirement this week, but don’t think I would typically. Additionally, the “Other vegetables” category is it bad if this is where the majority of your vegetables fall (zucchini, squash, cucumber, etc.)? Also, is this where asparagus belongs?
Overall, I think I am doing well and with a little better meal planning I think I can curb the aforementioned problem areas of dairy and protein to get the recommended amount of nutrients.
New recipes that I tried and enjoyed this week included quinoa mac’n’cheese, homemade almond butter and whole wheat cookies.
This Friday we leave for vacation with my family so I know the week ahead will be a lot more challenging to stay on the healthy track. Travelling in general is difficult to stick with a routine of any kind, never mind with my family…we love to eat and unfortunately I tend to overindulge when I am with them. I’ll keep you posted on how I do on the west coast!
I’m about a half-a-week into my new challenge and wanted to note a few findings so far.
- I surprisingly eat enough fruits AND vegetables according to the USDA My Plate standards. This is surprising to me because I really though I lacked in the vegetable category, but I only need 2.5 cups a day and I’ve really had no problem reaching that…at least in the past few days.
- I’ve been struggling in the Dairy category though. This is surprising because I used to be all about some dairy…loved milk and cheese my whole life…and I still do, but I think I cut a lot of dairy out of my diet…so much so that I am not getting the recommended 3 cups a day. I think this is partially do to the expense of dairy items and the perceived fat that they contain. This is an area I need to work on.
- Protein, like dairy, I am not getting enough. I honestly think with a little better meal planning on my part, this will not be an issue. I usually do think I get enough protein but have not been cooking a lot of meat lately for whatever reason. Definitely not going vegetarian because I do love meats and their nutritional benefits, but have not been eating it as much. Salmon is on the menu for tonight though, so maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!
- I love dessert! This is not a shocking revelation or anything new…I love finishing meals with a little something sweet or picking up something from the bakery any time I feel like splurging. This is not a category on the plate and is something I will probably continue to indulge in, but just wanted to be fully transparent here!
We will see how I round off the week!
For the next month or so, I am going to try to mirror my diet based on this balanced plate idea. I’ll log how I am doing here along with any nice discoveries.
Recording it in this way is not to show the world how awesome I am and inspire them to be more healthy too, but more to hold myself accountable so I can look back on each week and reflect if I’m really doing what I set out to do. Here goes nothing but the risk of becoming a more healthier me!
Now vegetables and I have not always been the best of friends. In fact, members of my loving family can tell you all about the times I was carried away from the dinner table kicking and screaming about not wanting to eat my peas and carrots…many spankings resulted of this. By the way, I’ve grown to enjoy peas and carrots most of the time!
I would not say that now I am a lover of vegetables, but I’m working on it. I have a few go to veggies that I enjoy: asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc. But there is definitely room for improvement in this category and I know I am not usually getting the recommended amount. As a side note: Lately, I have been inspired to drink my veggies and I like them a lot more. I think I would be more inclined to do so regularly if I had a nice juicer, and didn’t pay $6+ a glass at Whole Foods, but that’s besides the point.
The same site I mentioned before (Choose My Plate) has also provided a breakdown of the types of vegetables recommended and over the next few weeks I am going to strive to make this weekly goal:
As a 19-30 year old woman, it is recommended to eat this amount per week:
- 1.5 cups of Dark Green Vegetables (Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Endive, Romaine and other dark leafy greens)
- 5.5 cups of Red & Orange Vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn/butternut squash, etc.)
- 1.5 cups of Beans & Peas (black beans, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, soy beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, etc.)
- 5 cups of Starchy Vegetables (corn, green peas, white potatoes)
- 4 cups of other vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, etc.)
I’d like to acknowledge, that beans have never really been a part of my diet. I am not accustomed to cooking them except in a nice pot of chili or in a spread like hummus. Perhaps if I grew up Cuban it would be a staple in my cooking like many of my Miami peers, but during the next few weeks I am going to try and find a way to sneak them into my cuisine along with more leafy greens!