Spot-checking my plant-based diet

I recently downloaded a new (free) app called My Fitness Pal onto my iPhone. I had read in a blog (I truly don’t recall which one) that it was a useful way to “check” how you are doing with getting the appropriate number of calories or nutrients. Personally, I worry a bit over getting the optimal amount of calcium, iron, and protein. This app is very useful. You can search the database for foods that are already in there (most of mine were) or scan a bar code. Then you can adjust for how much you ate. For instance, when I have steel-cut oats in the morning, I eat 2 servings, which was easy to adjust. The app can even adjust for fractions of a serving. I was impressed that the database had the basic information for a recipe I made from the Peas and Thank You cookbook, although it didn’t have the level of detail to include the smaller nutrients such as calcium and iron for that recipe. Therefore, my calculated numbers for calcium and iron are probably below what I consumed.

So, how did I do on my spot-check day? I was pleasantly surprised. Iron was just fine-and I learned that my steel-cut oats and squash and hummus are awesome sources of iron. Calcium was ok too, considering I take a supplement. My diet provided 63% of my requirement, and my supplement provides 66%, with 2 tablets. Therefore, I just took one calcium tablet that evening. I’ve never been good at getting enough calcium through food, and that’s ok with me. I’ll work on that at some point. The winners for providing calcium were kale (curly kale in a smoothie and baby kale in a salad) and squash.

After calculating my nutrient intakes with this app, I’ll be heading to Costco a lot more often for their amazing peeled and cut butternut squash. I love their 2 pound package for 3.99.

cut up butternut squash

Butternut squash rocks the nutrition numbers…(this picture is from my own labor-intensive butternut squash cooking in the fall)

When it came to protein, never fear Mom, I came in at 49 grams. This is a bit over my requirement of 43 grams. I calculated my requirement a few years ago using the US Recommended Daily Allowance. I used the low end of the 10-35% of calories protein recommendation, because I believe that is most appropriate and healthful. I did cut my intake a bit close, however. Maybe I’ll make sure to add a little more protein with some nuts, which I usually do snack on every day, and might have forgotten to enter.

I think I will use this app once in a while, but I don’t want to use it every day–it’s time-consuming and I don’t want to be obsessive over intake. It might be something you want to try to perform a spot-check of your diet. Let me know how it goes if you try it.

Have a great week! I’m going to try to share my super-easy recipe for n0-dairy pizza this week or very soon. I think I finally am onto something in my pizza experiments.

 

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