Assessing an Actual Client’s Food Journal

This is a client’s actual food log from MyFitnessPal. Want to know how I evaluate it? First read “How to Evaluate the Data from your Online Food Journal”.

Then read my notes below to see how she did.

Foods

Calories

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Cholest

Sodium

Sugars

Fiber

Breakfast

General Mills – Honey Nut Cheerios, 1 cup (28g)

147

29g

2g

3g

0mg

213mg

12g

3g

Starbucks – Double Tall Soy Latte, 12 oz

130

18g

4g

7g

0mg

100mg

14g

1g

Peaches – Raw, 1 large (2-3/4″ dia) (approx 2-1/2 per lb)

61

15g

0g

1g

0mg

0mg

13g

2g

Milk – Nonfat (fat free or skim), 0.5 cup

43

6g

0g

4g

2mg

64mg

0g

0g

Lunch

Generic – Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Thighs, 1 thigh

224

2g

11g

17g

95mg

88mg

2g

0g

Rice – Brown, long-grain, cooked, 0.3 cup

65

13g

1g

2g

0mg

3mg

0g

1g

Edamame – Steamed Edamame In Pod W/Salt, 1/2 cup

100

11g

4g

13g

0mg

5mg

5g

4g

Dinner

Generic – Salmon Fillet Baked – 1 Fillet, 6 ounce

240

0g

16g

24g

60mg

68mg

0g

0g

Spinach – Raw, 1 cup

7

1g

0g

1g

0mg

24mg

0g

1g

Cuties – Tangerines, 84 g (2 cuties)

40

9g

0g

1g

0mg

0mg

7g

2g

Cheese – Blue, bleu, 0.5 cubic inch

30

0g

2g

2g

6mg

119mg

0g

0g

Mushrooms – Raw, 0.5 cup pieces

8

1g

0g

1g

0mg

1mg

1g

0g

Kirkland Signature (Costco) – Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, 1 Tablespoon

10

2g

0g

0g

0mg

0mg

2g

0g

Nuts – Walnuts, english, 0.5 oz (14 halves)

93

2g

9g

2g

0mg

0mg

0g

1g

Snacks

Bananas – Raw, 1 large (8″ to 8-7/8″ long)

121

31g

0g

1g

0mg

1mg

17g

4g

Trader Joe’s – Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels (Dark Chocolate) Corrected, 8 pieces (40 g)

190

25g

10g

2g

0mg

150mg

11g

2g

TOTAL:

1,509

165g

59g

81g

163mg

836mg

84g

21g

As I dietitian, when I am evaluating a client’s food journal, these are some of the factor’s I look at:

Calories. She was right at her goal of 1500 calories.

Carbs. Goal for her is 188 g. She had 165 g. A bit short. Were they “healthy, high fiber” carbs? For the most part but 25 grams were from dark chocolate pretzels.

Protein. 13 grams short. She did have good quality protein provided by the salmon, chicken and milk however. I would be more concerned about falling short on the protein goal if her protein sources were vegetarian or if she consistently didn’t reach her goal.

Fat. She got some healthy fats from the walnuts and salmon. 12 g of unhealthy fat were from chocolate pretzels and blue cheese and had she chosen chicken breast instead of the thighs she could have eliminated some saturated fat.  But she gets credit for using balsamic vinegar on her salad. No oil! So she saved some calories and fat there. And blue cheese is actually a good addition to a salad as long as it is in small quantity. A small amount adds a lot of flavor and decadence without that many additional calories. I’m hoping she measured it out though. Her log indicates half a one inch cube. It would be easy to eat so much more and then be underestimating calorie intake. So be sure to measure.

Sodium. 2400 mg or less is the goal. Her diary indicates she ate less than 900 mg. I would guess more however because of the teriyaki chicken. I looked on other sites and the sodium content for 1 thigh ran higher up to 1100 mg for this serving site. Sometimes the entries on online journals are incorrect, especially if it was a “member submitted” and not verified.

Cholesterol. Goal is less than 300 mg per day. Hers was 163 mg. Good.

Sugars. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 100 calories daily for women. She had 84 g TOTAL  sugars.  Her biggest sugar contributors were milk in the latte and fruit. These weren’t added sugars.The chocolate covered pretzels added some unnecessary sugar/carbs.

Fiber. Goal is 35 grams per day. She got 21 grams. This is a bit surprising because she did eat whole grains, veggies and fruits. Apparently not enough. She can improve this by adding more fiber-rich veggies to her salad. Maybe broccoli, carrots, celery, a few peas, raw cauliflower.

Did she get at least 2 servings of dairy? She had 1.5 servings from the soy milk in the latte  and some milk on her cereal. The contribution from calcium is one of the major reasons it is important to eat dairy foods. She did have soy milk which sometimes does not contain calcium unless it is fortified with calcium. Since all soy milk is not fortified,  read the nutrition information on labels carefully.

Was there a lot of “volume”? Yes. Peaches, edamame, spinach, tangerines, mushrooms and banana. These are filling and lower calorie and more nutritious than other choices might be. If you can picture the food on the plate , it was quite a bit. The salmon was also a good choice. She was able to have a big portion for a mere 240 calories.  6 ounces of beef would be at least double that in calories which means that if she had wanted to eat beef and stay within her calorie goal she could have only had a small 3 ounce portion.

Get 3 servings of whole grains? She had about 2 servings. A serving is 1 cup cold cereal or ½ c rice.She had 1 c Cheerios and 1/3 cup rice. (I wonder if she measured. That is a very small serving. My guess is that she actually had more)

Did she eat at least 2 cups of vegetables? Yes. Edamame (can count as a starchy veggies but still a veggie), spinach, mushrooms.

Did she eat at least 1.5 cups fruit? Yes.Banana, peach, tangerines.

So overall, she did well. There are a few areas to improve on that were brought to her attention because we took the time to assess her daily intake. Now you try it with your own journal entries usingHow to Evaluate the Data from your Online Food Journal“. 

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How to Evaluate the Data from your Online Food Journal

A study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research  followed more than 2,000 dieters for six months and encouraged healthy eating and regular exercise. The results: they found that the single best indicator for dropping weight came down to keeping a food journal.

Two-thirds of all participants who adopted a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and participated in regular exercise, dropped nine pounds or more. But those who kept a daily food diary lost 11 more pounds than those who didn’t.

In order to improve your habits and reach the weight you want, it’s important to take a good, hard look at your eating patterns.

Writing everything down will help you make smarter food choices and provides a more accurate picture of your daily caloric consumption. Researchers have found that Americans typically underestimate their food intake by about 25 percent while overestimating their daily physical activity levels.

You need to track exercise as well because exercise is as important to weight loss as a healthy diet. Research has shown that people who exercise most days of the week can reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.

How to evaluate the data to improve your diet

As I dietitian, when I am evaluating a client’s food journal, these are some of the factor’s I look at:

Calories. Did you have an intake at or below your goal?

Carbs. 50% of your calories should come from “healthy” carbs. Whole grain, fiber-containing, unprocessed.

Protein. 25% of your calories should come from lean protein.

Fat. 25% of your calories should come from “healthy” fats.

Was the fat contributed by healthy omega 3 fat found in soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, fish: trout, herring, and salmon? Omega-3s boost heart health, help rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Was the fat contributed by saturated fat found in high-fat cheeses, high-fat cuts of meat, whole-fat milk and cream, butter, cheese, ice cream, palm and coconut oils? Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to chronic disease, specifically, coronary heart disease.

Was the fat contributed by trans-fat from any product that contains partially hydrogenated oil, fried items, savory snacks (like microwave popcorn and chips), frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, pie, margarines and spreads, ready-to-use frosting, and coffee creamers?  

Cholesterol. 300 mg is the most you should have per day. Cholesterol is found in animal products: egg yolks, beef, poultry, lamb, pork, organ meats, fish and dairy products. Keep in mind that trans fat and saturated fat have a bigger effect on a person’s blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.

Sodium. 2400 mg or less is the goal.

Sugars. 40 grams or less. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 100 and 150 calories daily for women and men. (12 ounces of regular soda supplies 35 grams; one teaspoon of table sugar contains 4 grams).

Fiber. Goal is 35 grams per day.

Did you get soluble fiber? Soluble fiber attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

Sources of soluble fiber: oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, chia, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, cranberries, grapes, peaches, plums and prunes.

Did you get insoluble fibers are considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. These fibers pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables.

Sources of insoluble fiber: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, corn, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

Did you eat beans? 3-4 times per week use beans instead of meat, add them to salads, soups or use as a side dish.

Did you get at least 2 servings of dairy? Intake of dairy products is linked to improved bone health, reduced risk of osteoporosis, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults. It also is a source of protein. For milk, 1 cup of fluid milk; For yogurt, 8 ounces; 2 cups of cottage cheese or half a cup of ricotta cheese; 2 ounces of processed cheese such as an American cheese slice, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese or 1 ½  ozs. of hard cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Parmesan.

Was there a lot of “volume”? Choosing foods that are high in water and fiber and low in density allows dieters to enjoy larger, more satisfying portions, and to lose weight without feeling hungry. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cooked grains are examples of low-energy-density foods that give you plenty of water and fiber for very few calories.

Did you get 3 servings of whole grains? Do so and enjoy reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, inflammatory disease, colorectal cancer, gum disease, better weight maintenance, and healthier blood pressure.

  RECOMMENDED MINIMUM
Women 19-50 years old 6 ounce equivalents 3 ounce equivalents
51+ years old 5 ounce equivalents 3 ounce equivalents
Men 19-30 years old 8 ounce equivalents 4 ounce equivalents
31-50 years old 7 ounce equivalents 3 ½ ounce equivalents
51+ years old 6 ounce equivalents 3 ounce equivalents

Did you eat at least 2 cups of vegetables?

Women 19-50 years old 2½ cups
51+ years old 2 cups
Men 19-50 years old 3 cups
51+ years old 2½ cups

Vegetable subgroup recommendations are given as amounts to eat WEEKLY. Over a week, try to consume the amounts listed from each subgroup as a way to reach your daily intake recommendation.

Dark green vegetables

Red and orange vegetables

Beans and peas

Starchy vegetables

Other vegetables

AMOUNT PER WEEK

Women 19–50 yrs 1½ cups 5½ cups 1½ cups 5 cups 4 cups
51+ yrs old 1½ cups 4 cups 1 cup 4 cups 3½ cups
Men 19–50 yrs 2 cups 6 cups 2 cups 6 cups 5 cups
51+ yrs 1½ cups 5½ cups 1½ cups 5 cups 4 cups

*Red or orange peppers, carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste and sauce, red potatoes, beets, radicchio, sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin.

*Green: artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoflower, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, endive, green cabbage, green peppers, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, peas, snows peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, watercress.

Did you eat at least 1.5 cups fruit?

Women 19-30 years old 2 cups
31-51 years old 1 ½ cups
Men 19-51+ years old 2 cups

How many ounces of protein did you eat?

Women 19-30 years old 5 ½ ounce equivalents
31-51+ years old 5 ounce equivalents
Men 19-30 years old 6 ½ ounce equivalents
31-50 years old 6 ounce equivalents
51+ years old 5 ½ ounce equivalents

 

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