Sometimes, the answers to your biggest life questions are right in front of you. You just have to focus more clearly, brush away the cobwebs and tune out the interference. I took a simple challenge recently and it helped me see the flaws in my own eating habits. Boy, was I embarrassed…
What do you eat in a typical day?
The challenge I took seemed simple and I really didn’t think I’d learn much. But I decided to do it, first so I could report on the experience here on the FFB. But, secondarily, I was looking for bragging rights. I naturally thought that I, a crusader for good eating and responsible consumption, would ace the test and come away with a big gold star. It was not to be.
The challenge was simple: Write down everything I eat and drink over one full day and then examine it critically, according to accepted dietary standards.
Here’s what I ate…
- Orange Juice – 6 oz. / 175 ml
- Diet Ginger Ale – 36 oz. / 1 L
- Chinese Potsticker Dumplings (Steamed) – 6 Veg / 6 Meat
- Dipping Sauce – 3 oz. / 90 ml
- Water – 24 oz. / 700 ml.
- Chicken Fajita Wrap – Peppers, Chicken, Onion, Mushrooms, Cheese
- Potato Chips – Plain with Salt, 10 chips
- Dry White Wine – 2 glasses, 12 oz. / 350 ml.
Here’s what I learned…
The Orange Juice was healthy in a lot of ways, and it’s naturally Fat-free. But it also contained 14 g / 3.5 teaspoons of Sugar. That’s 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance for an adult male, as set by the World Health Organization (WHO), and more than half the daily allowance for a woman. It clocked 55 Calories, total.
The Diet Ginger Ale was ‘zero-everything’ on the Nutrition facts label. Maybe I get some points for choosing that as a thirst quencher!
The Chinese Dumplings were 77 Calories apiece for the Meat ones and 35 Calories each for the Veg ones. Total: 462 + 120 = 582 Calories. Low Fat, high Protein, but relatively high in carbs, too. Comes out on the plus side, nutritionally.
My Dipping Sauce was Sour Cream-based. Sinful, sinful me! That’s 165 Calories. Ouch. And it’s a high-Fat indulgence.
Water gets a free ride on the dietary train. Yay! But I will also note that, the volume of Water plus the volume of Diet Ginger Ale I consumed = 60 oz. / 1.7 L And that’s roughly equal to the 8 x 8 oz. / 235 ml glasses of water the experts say you should drink!
I made my Chicken Fajita Wrap from: 6 oz. Grilled Chicken, 2 oz. Sweet Peppers, 2 Oz. Diced Onion, three medium Button Mushrooms. I stir fried them all in 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil and sprinkled on 1/2 tsp. of Salt and the same of White Pepper. I wrapped it all in a 10 in. / 25 cm Plain Flour Tortilla and topped it with 2 oz. / 60 g shredded Cheddar Cheese. That’s a total of: 276 + 11 + 24 + 12 + 230 + 220 = 573 Calories. The good points about the way the meal was prepared – the ‘good’ oil used for frying, the lean chicken and lovely veggies – more than outweigh the high-carb count of the Tortilla. The added Salt is minimal.
The Potato Chips were a surprise… Ten medium Chips weigh\about 1 oz., which is one personal-sized bag. Calories: 165. Fat: 10 g. Salt: 170 mg. That’s a lot of concentrated bad stuff. I’m glad I had only a small ‘dose’.
Ah, yes… The Wine… Calories are sinful: 290, total. But there’s nothing else in the bottle that counts on the standard ‘nutrition information’ panel. (And Let’s not get into the whole Alcohol debate, here, please.)
Adding it all up…
The total Calorie count for my test day = 1,776. Not bad. Government and medical establishment recommendations say 2,000 Calories a day is about right for the average woman. But my Salt intake (not detailed in this post, but calculated, nevertheless) was right up there at the upper limit as recommended by WHO. It just sneaks in there, in the Dumplings and Potato Chips! Fats and Carbs were okay. Vitamins and Minerals were low, compared to what they should be. But that’s what multivitamin supplements are for.
I went into the challenge thinking I was consuming somewhat less than the total recommended daily Calorie allowance for me. And I thought my eating habits were low on Fats and Carbs. Salt? I was shocked at how much I consume on an average day! But, at least, I’m not among the vast majority of North Americans who take in twice the daily recommended amount of Salt every day. Sugar? I never dreamed one glass of Orange Juice had so much!
What’s missing from my daily food intake? Leafy Greens!
Yup… There’s a lot to learn in a simple challenge, like writing down everything you eat in a day and going into the numbers behind it…
~ Maggie J.