After many years of thinking I was a good eater, I realized there are many adjustments I need to make to my regular diet for it to be more nutritious. By reviewing my regular eating patterns, I realized I eat too many carbohydrates a day. The amount of carbohydrates I consumed was more than double the RDA, Recommended Dietary Allowance. To help reduce my carbohydrate consumption, I plan on eating less cereal because that has become a go-to meal for me at college. Cereal can add up in sugar and carbohydrates quickly when it is eaten as a meal or in large amounts.
I also plan to eliminate the amount of bread I eat, by reducing the amount of sandwiches I eat or resorting to salads instead. I will also try to eat less breaded meat and pick grilled meat choices instead. For example, the breading on chicken nuggets adds unneeded carbohydrates, sodium, and calories to the food. To help minimize my sugar intake, I plan on eating less sugary cereals because that is a major factor to me consuming too much sugar. Instead of cereal as a meal or snack, I will resort to cottage cheese, small amounts of granola or fruit, or vegetables.
Although, the majority of my sugar consumption consists of natural sugars because I consume a lot of fruit, which is better than artificial sugars. I will be sure to watch the amount of fruits I eat that are high in sugar to help minimize my sugar intake overall. As I looked at my diet, I realized I consume nearly a perfect about of iron by consuming sixteen grams of the recommended eighteen grams. I know that iron gives the body energy and it is important to consume appropriate recommended amounts. When too much is consumed, it builds up, can cause damage to the liver and heart, and possibly lead to future diseases, such as diabetes.
Most days, I did not consume enough calories, but it was not a major deficiency. To be sure I am eating enough calories a day, I plan to watch what I am eating and note how many calories are in each meal. Consuming enough calories helps give the body the energy it needs to get through the day, so I plan to watch what I am eating to be sure I am providing my body with enough calories. I also did not include enough fiber in my diet. To help get the recommended amount of fiber, I plan to eat more grains, beans, nuts, and berries. Another macronutrient is lipids, also known as fat.
Overall, I consumed a good amount of fats per day. It was slightly low compared to the Adequate Intake guidelines, but not a major deficiency. Therefore, I do not plan on adjusting my daily fat intake. My protein consumption was slightly high compared to the Recommended Dietary Allowance guidelines by the Dietary Reference Intake. I previously assumed that I consumed too much protein because I purposefully put it in my diet to help myself gain muscle mass. I will continue to consume protein similar to how I have been because my protein intake is not too much above the recommended intake to need adjusting.
Proteins also help me feel more full and energized throughout the day, which leads to me having a better attitude as well. Before I came to college, I used to be a huge milk drinker and always consumed enough calcium. Although, since I have begun college, I have noticed I do not drink near as much milk as I used to. I think this is causing me to have a slight calcium deficiency because I do not consume milk as regularly as I used to. I plan to consume milk, yogurt, or cheese more regularly to be sure I get enough calcium to help keep my teeth and bones healthy.
My sodium intake is perfect within the daily recommendations of 2,300 mg/day. I always try to not over consume sodium because I know the negatives effects it can have on a person when too much is consumed. To help reduce my salt intake, I reduce the amount of microwaveable food I consume, as well as, limit myself of certain dressings and sauces that I eat with most of my meats and salads. Dressings add a lot of unneeded calories, fats, sugars, and sodium to foods, and it can easily be taken out of my diet. Eliminating them would help with many of the items I consume too much of as well.
Overall, I do not consume near enough potassium to the Adequate Intake recommendations. I plan to add bananas, yogurt, avocados, and sweet potatoes to my daily diet to reach the recommendation for potassium. The recommendations for Vitamin D is fifteen micrograms a day. I would say that overall I consume a good amount of Vitamin D, and in the summer, I would consume even more because I spend a lot of time in the sunlight to receive Vitamin D in that form. Although, I do need to increase the amount of water I consume on a daily basis because I only consumed about half for the daily recommendation.
I plan on drinking more water throughout the day because I normally drink the most amount of water at night. I will have myself drink five sixteen-ounce water bottles every day to allow myself to reach the recommendation of consumption for it. I feel good about my daily diet, although, I have now realized there is room for improvement. I have noticed myself having little energy somedays, but I would always think it was from lack of sleep or just part of being a college student, but my eating habits could also have an effect on my energy levels throughout the day.
I am planning on reducing the amount of cereal I eat to reduce my sugar and carbohydrate consumption. I will add more bananas, yogurt, avocados, and sweet potatoes to my diet to increase the amount of potassium I consume because that was extremely low in my recorded daily consumptions. I will also drink five sixteen-ounce water bottles a day to keep myself hydrated. Overall, I am going to monitor what I am eating every day to be sure I am consuming a variety of nutrients in the correct form and amount.