Personalized Nutrition & Exercise Plan
The Current Problem
The current problem I have is that my diet is not adequate to provide me with a healthy lifestyle. While my physical exercise is very good—I go to the gym several times a week every week—my nutrition is still inadequate, though improving. Thus, this personalized plan will focus more on nutritional goals than on exercise goals.
Based on the USDA Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamins and Minerals (2011a) and USDA Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water (2011c).
To ensure this level of the vitamins and minerals in my diet, a good quality multivitamin should be added to my diet each day. In addition, the USDA recommends a minimum of 2.7 liters of water per day from all sources (just under 3 quarts/day or about 90oz). This includes both beverages and the water content of food. Thus, the estimated need for water in beverages is about 72 oz per day minimum since the USDA believes that about 20% of daily water intake is from moisture content of foods.
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, the USDA also recommends an appropriate level of macronutrients each day (USDA, 2011b). These requirements are 130 g of carbohyrdate/day, with 45-65 g/day being considered the minimum; 25 g of fiber/day; a total of 20-35 g of total fats per day (as much as possible from healthy fats like olive oil, omega 3 fats, etc.) with 12 g. of polyunsaturated fats and 1 g of omega-3 fats as a minimum; and46 g of protein from lean sources such as poultry, fish, eggs, lowfat dairy, and so on.
Goal 1: Increase my dairy intake to 3 full servings a day every day. As noted in my Healthy Eating Plan, one of the nutritional issues I struggle with is the need to consume at least 3 servings of dairy per day. Although I have improved in this regard during this course, I still need to ensure that I achieve that goal on a regular basis. As partial compensation for that, I can also add a calcium supplement (combined with vitamin D for improved absorption) to compensate in part for servings missed. The best option for me in this regard is low-fat yogurt, and some types of cheese, though the fat content of the cheese needs to be monitored (i.e., Neufchatel instead of cream cheese, low fat Swiss cheese instead of cheddar, and so on). I have already begun to a achieve this goal, by adding more dairy to my diet, but I am only averaging one or two servings a day at the moment instead of three full servings, so this effort needs to be continued and increased. Success in this goal will be achieved when I regularly consume 3 full servings a day of lowfat dairy products.
Goal 2: Increase my intake of fresh fruits to two servings every day. My starting diet included virtually no fruits at all. I have made a conscious effort to add in some fruits each day by purchasing the prepared fresh fruit cups and keeping grapes on hand. I am also trying other types of fruits to see what other kinds I like well enough to continue eating in hopes of expanding my repertoire. I find that some types of berries are good also. In this regard I have begun purchasing frozen berries (i.e., the ones frozen without sugar) and keeping them in my freezer. I find that a small serving of frozen berries, rinsed under warm water, and stirred into vanilla yogurt is tasty and makes a good snack. While I am not yet eating 2 full servings of fruit a day, I am now eating one serving per day on a regular basis and occasionally achieve the goal of 2 servings. Success in this goal will be achieved when I regularly consume 2 full servings a day of fresh fruits.
Goal 3:Reduce the simple carbohydrates in my diet, replacing them with complex carbohydrates. One of my weaknesses is fried foods and prepared snacks made with simple carbohydrates (sugar, flour, etc.). My goal is to limit these products to a minimum, recognizing that it’s probably unrealistic to eliminate them entirely. I have been limiting the amount of processed foods I purchase, and opting against bread when eating out at dinner. At home, I have begun substituting whole wheat and multigrain breads. I have also switched from white rice to brown rice and find I enjoy the nutty flavor of brown rice. Because of the prevalence of simple carbohydrates, it is an ongoing battle to recognize them in foods at restaurants and groceries, and to substitute simple carbohydrates with more whole-grain, complex carbohydrates. I have also been exploring using grains such as quinoa and barley both as side dishes instead of potatoes, and as cereals in the morning or as bases for salads (i.e., cook the grain and cool it, dice lightly steamed or raw vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and even broccoli and peas, stir them together, and add just enough low-fat salad dressing to hold the salad together.) Success in this goal will be achieved when I replace at least 50% of my simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates.
Goal 4:Increase my intake of vegetables to three servings every day. Of all the goals listed in my healthy eating comparison, the most challenging for me has been to increase my consumption of vegetables to three full servings a day. In part this is because so many restaurants do not have many options for vegetables except potatoes. In order to achieve this goal, I am trying to focus on finding recipes I like that include vegetables, and which I can make in advance, and simply reheat (or serve cold from the refrigerator) for later meals. I have been keeping cucumbers in the refrigerator for snacks. At best, however, I am doing 1 vegetable serving a day (excluding white potatoes), with an occasional day where I manage 2 servings. Success in this goal will be achieved when I regularly consume 3 full servings of vegetables each day.