How healthy is my diet?
September 27, 2005 11:34 AM   Subscribe

How healthy is my diet?

In an attempt to prevent the onset of a beer gut I'm trying to eat as healthily as possible with the minumum of fuss. Below is an average day's eating for me now with possibly one "unhealthy" meal and a few extra alcoholic drinks thrown in at the weekend. This menu below varies at dinner eg skinless roast chicken, brown rice n steamed veg, brown lentils, basil and tomatoes etc. Is there anything I am lacking nutritionally, should add or take away and is this a sufficient calorific intake for a 30 year old male with a sedentary working day but physically active evening (swimming, CV gym) 3-5 times a week.

medium bowl or organic muesli (no added sugar)
organic semi-skimmed milk

piece of fruit

wholegrain sandwich (chicken breast + salad)
small plate soup

small bag mixed nuts (not salted)

steamed organic salmon fillets
selection of steamed veg (courgettes / broccolli / cauliflour / red peppers etc)

glass of red wine
1.5L bottle of water
cup of chai tea (no milk or sugar)
posted by brautigan to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
i'm not a nutritionist, but that all looks both healthy and tasty to me.

doesn't look like you eat many dairy products, but as long as you're picking up calcium from other sources, it shouldn't be a concern.

there's a (somewhat detailed and possibly a bit complicated) calcium calculator here: here
posted by netsirk at 12:28 PM on September 27, 2005

Well, I for one am impressed. I'm sure you could analyze nutrients to the nth degree, but it sounds like you are doing fine.

The only suggestion I would make is that if you are making brown rice anyway, look into replacing it with quinoa. It cooks faster, is yummy when cooked properly, and most importantly it is not really a grain--as I understand it's a seed of the spinach plant. Much healthier. In fact, I think it is considered a "superfood" in lots of reading I have done.

If you're really worried about weight gain, try adding up all of your calories for a typical day, and finding a metabolism-rate calculator somewhere on the web. It can tell you how many calories you burn in a day--based on age, sex, weight, activity level etc...Then you'll know if you are eating more than you burn in a day.
posted by eileen at 12:32 PM on September 27, 2005

Best answer: You should start tracking your eating in FitDay. It's great. Easy interface, and free. You enter what you eat and how much, then click "reports" and get a breakdown of macro- and micro-nutrients you've taken in. It'll tell you whether you're getting enough vitamins and minerals, and also whether your carbs, protein, and fats are in balance. It's all you'll ever need to answer your question.
posted by Miko at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2005

Quinoa's advantage is just that it's higher in protein than other grains.
posted by Miko at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2005

IANAN, but it also looks like you might want to incorporate more calcium sources as well as upping your vegetable/fruit count if you can.
posted by Pattie at 1:14 PM on September 27, 2005

I second Miko's suggestion. When I'm training I use FitDay to keep myself from losing weight

*ducks as flying objects are thrown*.

Don't obsess about putting in the exact measurements, nutritional analysis is not an exact science, just be sure to put in everything you do eat and as close of a measurement as you can get without being too anal.
posted by m@ at 1:30 PM on September 27, 2005

Maybe I wasn't using Fitday properly, but I found it not so useful since I tend to avoid pre-packaged foods.

Brautigan, your diet sounds exemplary. (IANAD or nutritionist.) The only thing I might say is drink even more water.
posted by scratch at 1:39 PM on September 27, 2005

Response by poster: I plugged the above menu into the Fitday calculator and it come out at around 1500kcal but most of them seem to come from fat and carbs! I also seemed to be lacking in a wide assortment of vitamins. Removing the mixture of nuts obviously lowered the fat and calories but I thought they were good for you? I'll maybe swap them for fruit or veg sticks. (Or a huge Dominos - ugh!). Thanks for advice so far. One final Q, are multivitamins safe or not?
posted by brautigan at 1:51 PM on September 27, 2005

you need more fruit.
posted by the cuban at 1:55 PM on September 27, 2005

Fat from nuts and fatty fish like salmon is "good fat".
posted by amarynth at 2:01 PM on September 27, 2005

I think you're doing very well with regard to glycemic index (and glycemic load too if the portions are reasonable.)

Half the pharmaceutical industry would go bankrupt in about 10 years if everyone had as healthy a diet!

Do look to make sure you're getting all the essential n-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), but you're probably getting enough from nuts.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 3:23 PM on September 27, 2005

There's probably no need to drink that much water to be healthy. The eight glasses a day thing is myth.
posted by footnote at 4:05 PM on September 27, 2005

Maybe I wasn't using Fitday properly, but I found it not so useful since I tend to avoid pre-packaged foods.

?? I don't eat any pre-packaged foods, except yogurt and Kashi cereal. I have no trouble finding listings for fresh vegatables, meats and grains in FitDay. I just break down whatever I cooked into the components and enter it in, like: 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, 4 oz chicken breast cooked, 1/2 red pepper, 1 c broccoli -- or whatever.
posted by Miko at 10:11 AM on September 28, 2005

Best answer: Also -- nuts are a good source of protein. Almonds have a lot of calcium, as well. However, they are high in calories, so that can skew your intake if you're not careful. Before you eat nuts, measure your servings so you don't overeat them, which is easy to do.

The good news is, the nuts and the salmon contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce cholesterol in your blood and thus protect your heart.

The bad news is, even good fats have a lot of calories, and they need to be balanced into your diet if you're trying to lose weight.

I'm not surprised your diet is short on protein. That's true of most of us -- protein is the hardest to come by, whereas fats and carbs are abundant in a modern-day world. Focusing on including a protein source with every single snack or meal you eat will help you stay in balance. Eating crackers? Add cheese or hummus. Eating veggie sticks? Add a soy dip. Eating a banana? Have some almonds as well. You get the idea.

And, finally, multivitamins are safe, and recommended.
posted by Miko at 10:15 AM on September 28, 2005

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