At the end of December and beginning of January it seemed like a number of bloggers were tracking food or doing some type of cleanse. I liked reading their posts about what they learned and figured it might be a good experiment for me to undertake. I wasn’t up for a cleanse, but I was curious about how I was doing when it came to my diet. So, for the last 10 days I tracked all of my food on Livestrong’s MyPlate. I assumed that I was probably doing fine calorie-wise, since my weight tends to fluctuate in a relatively narrow range, but I was guessing that I’d probably find out that my diet was too carb heavy.
I discovered that I am actually consuming enough protein most days (at least according to the daily recommendations listed on MyPlate) and that my overall daily calorie intake is more or less in line with where it should be. I could stand to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I knew that. I know that writing my meals down actually inspired me to be a bit more creative at dinner time and not get lazy and just heat up a can of soup or have a bowl of cereal. So now I just need to carry that motivation forward.
I think the most interesting thing that I noticed by writing down what I was eating (and when I was eating it) was that I am usually so hungry by the time that I get home from work (in the 6:00-6:30 range) that I end up snacking while I am making dinner. While I almost always eat a morning snack, I haven’t been eating an afternoon snack. I’m not sure why I’ve been in this routine, but seeing it written down made me realize that I am going too long in the afternoon without food. I usually eat breakfast around 8:00, a morning snack sometime around 11:00 and lunch at 1:00. But then I was going from 1:00 to 6:30-7:00 without anything. After noticing this pattern, I started implementing an afternoon snack and no longer come home with a growling stomach! I’m sure it’s healthier to space it out like this (and prevents energy highs and lows) and then I don’t end up filling up on snacks before I finish making my dinner.
So now that I’m snacking more at work, I need to make a better effort to diversify my snack selection. I have a snack drawer at work but it’s heavy on granola bars and Clif bars. While these are good in moderation, ideally I’d like to add some less processed items to the mix. Obviously what’s stored there has to be non-perishable so I went to Trader Joe’s last week and picked out an assortment of nuts and dried fruits. I think my goal is going to be to attempt to pack one perishable snack like fruit, carrots and hummus, or Greek yogurt and rely on the snack drawer for the other. I already bring my lunch most days so it won’t be that much extra effort to grab something for a snack too. But now I need your help. What are your go to snacks?
Tracking food is definitely not something I would do on a regular basis, but it was helpful for a brief period. In just 10 days I learned a lot about my eating patterns and how I can diversify/improve my general diet. I could see myself tracking another week when I am marathon training, to make sure that I am actually eating enough to offset the huge calorie burn.