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 Part 2 Diet Analysis (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.” Once you have located your calorie needs from the Part 2 Analysis and rounded them to the nearest multiple of “200,” visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/MyPlatePlan.
Choose the calorie level closest to your estimated Part 2 Analysis calorie needs value. 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.
As an adult, you will select a Calorie Level from the “Ages 14+” row and click on the appropriate calorie level. See screenshot below for the Calorie Level table.
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 of the MyPlate Daily Checklist Worksheet.
NOTE: You will be hand writing directly on this worksheet, however if you are comfortable with Adobe editing or other PDF editing tools you may type directly into this worksheet. Your handwriting must be legible and clear. You may need to write it down once 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. In this case, you will still need to attach the worksheet that you took your notes on in order to verify you were using this as a guide.
Use the first column of the table “Food group targets” for guidance on determining portion sizes equivalent to a serving from that food group. For example, in the red box below, we can see we need 1 ½ cups of fruit for the 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. For the other food groups similar guidance is provided.
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 to write in your foods. This is identified in the blue box on the graphic below. Fill this in for all foods in their respective food groups.
Next, determine if you reached your target using the information in column 1 (’Food group targets’) and the information you filled into column 2 (‘food choices’). In column 3, indicated by the green circle in the graphic below, check off Y or N as appropriate.
The last step in your data collection process for the MyPlate portion of this project 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 are below the bolded values shown in the area called “Limit” below, check Y. Otherwise, check N. Your bolded values for the saturated fat “limit” will be different depending upon your calorie level, so do not worry if it’s not 20 grams like in the example below. . (Note: Since the tracking of added sugar in foods is new to food labeling, your Part 2 Analysis Cronometer results will 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 from the food groups.
This will be presented 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.
- 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 how well it matches up to recommendations about food groups.
- Body of the paper: Aim for 1 complete paragraph (3-5 sentences is a good goal to aim for) addressing each food group and the limits. This means you will have 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, do the same 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 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.
Step 4: Submission
You will need to submit 2 files. The first is either a PDF version or a scanned version of your worksheet. Even if you feel your handwriting is not clear, you must be able to show that you worked through this activity. This must be included to be eligible for full credit. The second file to include is your paper (Step 3). This must be submitted as a Word document. If you are a Mac user and have Pages, please “Save As” a Word file. If the file cannot be opened you risk getting a ‘0’ for the assignment. If you have completed the Worksheet as a Word doc to make reading it more clear, include this as an appendix with the paper. Do not submit as a third file.