What did you eat today? Do you remember? I ask because I was just talking with my husband about our crazy evening, and he mentioned that he was starving and hadn't eaten more than a couple handful of Chex Mix since lunch. Not the healthiest snack, I know, but I also knew he was wrong. He had eaten more than that since lunch. I was with him when he had two cookies after a youth function tonight, but he had forgotten. We can forget what we eat so quickly, and that is why it is important to track what we eat.
In order to balance a diet you must know where the holes are. What foods are you eating too much of? What foods are you not getting enough of. Chances are, if you're not tracking your food, you have no idea. So I want to share with you my favorite program for tracking, the USDA's Supertracker. This website has all the tools you will need for setting goals, logging food, and balancing your diet. With the right tools, dedication, and support, you will see the changes you are looking for.
To check out what this site is all about, click here. First, you will want to create a profile. This involves entering some personal information about yourself. Once your profile is set, you will be brought to the home page where you will have several options that are fun to spend some time exploring, but the one that I want to talk about is the Food Tracker.
The great thing about using the USDA program for tracking your food is that anything you eat can be found in their data base. Did you have a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast today? Well guess what, they have it on their list, in the flavor that you ate. Ok, they aren't 100%, but they are pretty amazing. What does this mean for you? You don't have to stress about counting numbers in your head. Those nutrition labels are in their data base, and when you tell the system you ate a 1 cup of Cheerios with 1/2 a cup of 1% milk, it will know the calorie count. It will also graph what food category your Cheerios fall into (in this case WHOLE Grains), and the sugar, sodium, and saturated fat intake for the day.
I love the interface of this website, it just puts everything right in front of you. No, it doesn't track EVERYTHING. If you want specific stats on your iron, calcium, or vitamin levels, this program isn't the best, but let me fill you in on a little secret, if you balance your diet, you will by default balance those areas as well. There is a reason it is called a balanced diet. It is by design, intended to get your body everything it needs on a daily basis.
So this is my website of choice for anyone who is serious about making changes in their life. The website is absolutely loaded with tools, so I do recommend that you login on the computer and access the full website from time to time, but like all good programs, everything is easier in an app. Good news, there is an app to make it even easier to track what you are eating. You're looking at your phone during breakfast anyway, may as well log what you're eating and start your day off right (there are so so so many physiological advantages to eating a healthy, balanced breakfast when trying to eat right, it just sets you up for a successful day). The app and the website are linked to the same account, so everything is synced. So if you're going to use the Supertracker, get the MyPlate Calorie Tracker app:
This is just the starting point. There is so much more to come. Tips on what to eat, simple changes that don't have to turn your life upside down. Not everything about eating right has to be hard. We can make it easier than it appears on the surface. No, it won't be a walk in the park; yes, it will demand some big changes; but I promise it is not impossible. You just need to know where your starting point is. So take the step to find out where you are standing. Start tracking what you are eating, and let's go from there.