Your textbook, An Introduction to Nutrition, covers “Achieving a Healthy Diet” in chapter 2. MyPlate (found at https://www.choosemyplate.gov ) is a tool that provides guidance in helping us achieve a healthy diet. As you may recall from chapter 2, the 5 key factors of a healthy diet include adequacy, balance, calorie control, moderation, and variety. In the Diet Analysis Part 2 (using Cronometer), we were able to assess our diets in terms of adequacy, balance, calorie control, and moderation. However, without looking at how well each food group is represented, we are unable to assess the variety in our diets. This portion of the diet analysis project will allow you to explore one of your documented days on your food diary and assess for variety. In addition to variety, this assignment will also provide more insight into moderation (are you getting too much or too little from a food group?).
Step 1: Finding Your MyPlate Daily Checklist
Locate your estimated calorie needs in Cronometer (and as discussed in the Energy Balance section of the Part 2 analysis questions). For purposes of this Part 3 Analysis, round this measurement to the nearest multiple of “200.” For example, if you needed 2289 kcal/d, you would round down to 2200 instead of rounding up to 2400. On the other hand, if you needed 2340 kcal/d, you would round to up to 2400 instead of down to 2200.
Once you have located your calorie needs from the Part 2 Analysis and rounded them to the nearest multiple of “200,” use this link to open the Calorie Level document (PDF format). Save the Calorie Level document to your computer. The calorie levels in the document are for “Ages 14+.”
Scroll through the Calorie Level document to locate the two MyPlate Daily Checklist pages that have the calorie level closest to your estimated Dietary Analysis Part 2 calorie needs value from Cronometer. The first page of the Checklist pages explains the information contained in the Checklist. The second page is the checklist worksheet that you will complete as partial fulfillment of Dietary Analysis Part 3.
You can print the checklist worksheet for your calorie level or use the Adobe extract tool to save the single Checklist Worksheet page that is closest to your calorie level to a new file for you to save and print/edit.
This will open up a PDF file in a new window. This is the worksheet you will be using to complete the next step of the project. Print out a copy of this and save to your computer.
Step 2: Transferring Your Diet Diary to the Worksheet
Review your 3-day food record. Select the day that most closely matches a typical day’s intake for you. Using those foods only, complete PAGE 2, the MyPlate Daily Checklist Worksheet.
NOTE: If you printed the Checklist Worksheet, you will be hand writing directly on this worksheet. If you are comfortable with Adobe editing or other PDF editing tools, you may type directly into this worksheet. (Important: If you type in the PDF document, submit *ONLY* the page for the Checklist that is closest to your calorie level. Do not submit all the original pages in the Calorie Level document.) For hand-written worksheets, your handwriting must be legible and clear. You may need to write it down first as part of the process to identify where all foods fit and then copy it over to another blank form as a final version. You may also want to create your own table in Word that can clearly display the information if you find the worksheet does not give you enough space. If you use a table in Word, you will still need to attach the worksheet to verify you were using the Checklist Worksheet closest to your calorie level as a guide.
Refer to the image below of an example 1,800 calorie MyPlate Checklist Worksheet to follow along with the instructions below.
Use the first column of the worksheet “Food group targets” for guidance on determining portion sizes equivalent to a serving for each food group. For example, in the red box below, we can see we need 1 ½ cups of fruit for each day and that 1 cup of fruit is either 1 cup of raw or cooked fruit, ½ cup dried fruit, or 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of 100% fruit juice. Similar guidance is provided for the other food groups.
Some foods you have eaten may be “combination” foods, meaning they have components from more than 1 food group. You will want to split those up as ingredients or components and place each piece into the respective food group. For example, if you had 2 slices of a medium pizza with tomato sauce, vegetables, mozzarella cheese, and ground beef, we can identify 4 different food groups. You would count the crust as a starch (typically 1 ounce of grain per each slice), the tomato sauce and veggies on top count as vegetables, the mozzarella falls under dairy, and the ground beef is in the protein group. Include each ingredient in the correct group. DO NOT simply write pizza as a single food in a single category.
Write the foods or food components (ingredients) into the second column where it says “Write your food choices for each food group.” The blue box on the graphic below bounds the section where foods or food components (ingredients) would be written for the Vegetables food group. Fill this in for all foods in their respective food groups.
Next, determine if you reached your target by comparing the information in column 1 (’Food group targets’) with the information you filled into column 2 (‘food choices’). In column 3, indicated by the green oval in the graphic below, check off Y or N as appropriate. Y if you reached your target and N if you did not reach your target.
The last step in Step 2 is to assess your “limits”. Sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars are all areas that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting. Using your Part 2 Diet Analysis Cronometer Nutrition Report screenshot check on your milligrams of sodium and grams of saturated fat intake. If your sodium and saturated fat values from Part 2 Diet Analysis Cronometer report are below the bolded values shown in the rightmost area called “Limit” below, check Y. Otherwise, check N. Your bolded values for the saturated fat “limit” will be unique to your calorie level, so do not worry if it’s not 20 grams like in the example below. (Note: Tracking added sugar in foods is new to food labeling, and your Dietary Analysis Part 2 Cronometer results do not include this. They list total sugars, which does not differentiate between natural sugars (like those in fruit and milk) and added sugars; therefore, we will not be including this in the project.)
Step 3: Assessing Your Intake for Variety and Moderation
It is possible that although your Part 2: Diet Analysis Cronometer Nutrition report showed your diet was adequate in nutrients, met calorie goals, and balanced in terms of nutrients, your diet is lacking variety and not showing moderation in terms of the food groups (one is too high or too low, resulting in too much or too little of another food group). This portion of the diet analysis project will focus on your critical analysis of your intake for one day as compared to recommendations from MyPlate for variety and moderation in the food groups.
You will provide this analysis as a written paper. The paper should include an introduction paragraph, one paragraph for each of the 5 food groups, one paragraph on the “limits” (sodium and saturated fat), and a conclusion–Eight (8) paragraphs in total.
Introduction: This should tell the reader what they will expect to read about in your paper. The main focus here is that you are introducing a review of your diet in terms of variety, moderation, and how well it matches up to recommendations about food groups.
Body of the paper: Aim for one complete paragraph (3-5 sentences is a good goal to aim for) addressing each food group and the limits. This means you will have six (6) paragraphs in total for the body of the paper.
For each food group support the determination you made (Y or N) in column 3 of your worksheet- Did you reach your target? Clearly state if you believe you did/did NOT meet the recommendation and how you came to this conclusion. Which foods did you classify in this food group and how did you come up with the total number of servings? Do this for each of the 5 food groups.
Once you have this for all food groups, write an analysis for the limits. If you exceeded sodium and/or saturated fat, identify which foods in your diet for the day resulted in being over the limit(s). If you were under for one or both, comment on how you made choices to keep those to a minimum. In the event no decisions were made specifically with awareness of sodium and saturated fat content, that is fine, however you will want to comment on this still and not skip over a critical analysis of your intake impacting those values.
Conclusion: This is the last paragraph (#8) of the paper. Here is where you present your final argument using the preceding evidence presented in the body of the paper to support whether or not your diet for that one-day was varied and exhibited moderation. The key aspects to address here are specifically variety and moderation as presented in An Introduction to Nutrition chapter 2 using MyPlate as your set of guidelines.
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