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Diet & Nutrition Message Board

Diet & Nutrition Board Index

[QUOTE=IOMEGAZZ27]Thanks for the responses! Wow, I did not know muffins were that bad! I don't think I will ever eat another one! Yes, I will take any suggestions anyone has because I am trying so hard to change my way of eating from now on. I just want to get rid of my bad eating habits so I can maintain my weight. There is so much information out there and it seems confusing sometimes. I just started exercising last week and plan to keep that up also. Thanks again![/QUOTE]

Hi Iomega, its great that you are trying to eat a healthier diet. You will feel better and you will likely prevent the onset of common adult diseases.

One of the most important things to consider is eating a balance of carbs, protein, and fat. You will need to tweak the percentages to what feels best for you, but most people do quite well with a diet of 50% carb, 25% fat, and 25% protein.

Another primary goal should be to maintain blood glucose levels throughout the day. This will help you feel good all day and avoid after meal slumps or pre-meal hunger. To maintain these levels you need to spread out your food consumption throughout the day - could be 5 equal meals or 3 meals and 2 substantial snacks about 3 hours apart. Each of these meals/snacks is best if you use the same carb/fat/protein ratios at the meal level. As with your muffin breakfast - you were short on protein and heavy on carbs - this effects your entire day!

I can't tell you how many calories you should eat, but there are some decent tools out there that can help you determine that. (Do a google search on "BMR Calculator"). Don't forget to factor in activity levels, which will increase your caloric needs. Once you know how many calories to eat to maintain your weight you just need to do some simple math.

[U]Reference for daily totals[/U]
To determine carb grams: (total calories X .50)/4
To determine protein grams: (total calories X .25)/4
To determine fat grams (total calories X .25)/9

[U]Reference for meal/snack totals[/U]
[U]5 equal meals per day: [/U]
Per meal = (total carb grams/5) + (total protein grams/5) + (total fat grams/5)
[U]3 meals + 2 snacks per day:[/U]
Per meal = (total carb grams/4) + (total protein grams/4) + (total fat grams/4)
Per snack = (total carb grams/8) + (total protein grams/8) + (total fat grams/8)

There are a few other tips that coincide with the above plans - they are more about the content, not the quantity, of the food you consume. Try to hit these targets:

Avoid processed/refined carbs like white bread, sugar, syrup, etc.
25-30 grams of fiber daily
No more than 300 mg of cholesterol daily
No more than 5000 mg of sodium daily (if you have high BP reduce to 2500 mg or even less)
At least 64 oz of water daily

During the first few weeks you may think its a pain to break down the nutritional value of what you are eating, but until you do it you will never learn. Once you learn, you won't need to go through all the work (measuring, weighing, reading labels, etc) - you will just know. Like with the muffin, you had no idea how imbalanced your breakfast was, but once you saw it all spelled out, it became clear as a bell!

You will need to read labels, perhaps get a kitchen scale (doesn't need to be elaborate, just functional). You will be amazed at what you learn in this process, but it is worth it. Avoid purchasing foods that contain no nutritional data (like your bakery muffins) and stick to foods where you know the ingredients. For example, you will rarely find a nutritional label on a baking potato, but you can weigh it to figure it out yourself. Do a google search on "USDA food data" for a great database to look up food values.

To make things easier, you may want to pre-plan a bit - for example create 4 or 5 different breakfast menus that you will enjoy and then you never have to give it another thought.

Some breakfast examples:
1. 1/2 cup LF cottage cheese + 1 apple + 1 slice Oatnut bread (toast) + 1 tbsp butter + 16 oz of water
2. 2 cups cheerios + 1 cup skim milk + 2 eggs ( no butter - use a nonstick pan or eat them hard boiled!) + 16 oz of water
3. 1 packet instant oatmeal + 1 tbsp butter + 1 3oz lean (low sodium, of possible) ham steak + 1 banana + 16 oz of water

This should give you a good start in the right direction. It may sound like work, but its really not - you just need to apply the knowledge and pretty soon you will do it all from memory. Remember, this is a learning process and you have to start somewhere, if you don't you will just always be guessing. And all of these numbers are goals - if you are off a little in either direction it won't matter much.

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