Apologies if this question has been addressed before:
It seems nearly impossible for my daily intake to ever reach an ideal balance of RDA percentages. About half a dozen of of them are usually around/or above 100% (like Vitamin C). But I really don't eat such an incredibly diverse array of foods to hit the mark on all of them throughout the week...Does anybody? And wouldn't that seriously increase calorie intake?
I want to eat more fat/protein than carbs but even with eating plenty of different vegetables, some whole grains, and fish, I see huge deficits. I do take a multi-vitamin but don't put any faith in it, based on what I've read.
My question is, has anyone come across an ideal nutritional menu to help us meet those RDA standards? I know we all have different approaches to weight loss, but I'm actually curious about the nutritional aspect of foods... Any nutritionists out there?
Last edited by BabyBiscotti; 04-06-2011 at 02:49 AM.
Reason: oops, typo
It's pretty difficult to make a daily menu that meets 100% of your DRIs (Dietary Reference Intake) in a single day. I had to do it as a project in a class, and it took forever to get all the nutrients balanced! They are now called DRIs instead of Recommended Daily Allowances because you don't really need to get 100% every single day. An average over a week or so is fine - you don't need a perfect balance every day for good health. Your body will balance it out.
Though the DRIs are based on the science we know, there is still a lot we don't know. Many of the DRIs are just our best guesses as to how much is needed to prevent complications related to deficiencies. They are also set high for the average person (2 standard deviations above average) in order to include 98% of the population. It is likely that you need less than 100% of each micronutrient (sometimes much less).
Ideally, you should get as many nutrients as you can from your food. Your body absorbs them better from food (with the exception of folate). If you eat a well-balanced diet with a good variety of foods and lots of different colored fruits & vegetables, you are probably getting what your body needs. If you also take a multivitamin, then you should be in good shape. If your diet skips all of a certain kind of food or entire food groups, then you may need to take a closer look at your diet to make sure you are getting everything you need.
I hope that helps!
Edited to add: I have noticed that Fitday does not track the DRIs very well. I think this has to do with the database and possibly the way our food label information is printed. Only Vitamins A & C and Calcium and Iron are required to be listed on a food label, so if Fitday uses the food label for its information, then it could miss other micronutrients.
I meet my RDAs every day (except for B-12 and vitamin D). (I don't count sodium or cholesterol.) I live in the north, so I don't get Vitamin D naturally from the sun. Therefore, I supplement on days I don’t consume enough Vitamin D from natural sources (fatty fish) in my diet. I also don't eat too much B-12 in my diet so I supplement for that. (On days when I increase my calorie needs, I consume slightly more foods with B-12.)
My diet averages 1200 - 1400 calories per day - all from whole natural foods (and no mixes, no dried powered stuff, no enriched foods, you know what I mean). Most days I get to nearly 100% on all (except B-12, D, Sodium and chol), at about 800 calories, at that point its definetly possible to chose to add those B-12 and D sources. Typical day, when I haven’t eaten natural sources of B-12 nor Vitamin D. Below reflects no supplements…
I have to shop for fresh produce twice a week. I bag all my breakfast and lunch, and cook most of my dinners at home. It costs more in time and effort, so I don’t know if you would find it “Ideal”. If you’re interested, though, provide me with your email and I’ll send you my food journal.
Essentially, I base food choices on the ANDI score!
I have a hard time balancing my nutrients, so I use Zoic. It is sugar-free, fat free, 90 calories has 100 percent of many and it helps me for when I am too busy to stop and cook. I drink it with a quick meal and figure it into my calories. Kind of been my life-saver and has kept me on track. I do not drink it alone or as a meal in itself. It is part of my food.
Here's one day of food logging and the nutrient report. For comparison, I'll find another day where I didn't eat beans/legumes...
Berries for breakfast. A big salad with veggies and beans for lunch with a side of cooked amaranth greens. A dinner of whitebean soup with kale, some salmon and brocolli raab.
Food Name Amount Unit - Total calories 1,260:
Blueberries, raw 2 cup
Raspberries, red, raw 8 oz
Blackberries, raw 5 oz
Spinach, raw 10 cup
Carrots, baby, raw 11 medium
Tomatoes, orange, raw 0.5 cup, chopped
Pinto, calico, or red Mexican beans, 0.66 cup dry, cooked, fat not ad...
Tofu, Nasoya, extra firm, prepared 79 grams
Tomatoes, raw 1 large whole (3" dia)
Amaranth leaves, cooked, boiled, 4 cup
Kale, cooked, from fresh, fat not 1 cup
Onions, mature, raw 0.5 cup
White beans, dry, cooked 0.5 cup
Fish, salmon, coho, wild, cooked, 2 oz
Broccoli raab, cooked, 1 bunch
Vitamin A - 708% RDA
Vitamin B6 -304%
Vitamin B12 -106%
Vitamin C - 907%
Vitamin D (5.0) 0.0%
Vitamin E - 170%
Calcium - 241%
Cholesterol (32.3 mg)
Copper - 371%
Iron - 215%
Magnesium - 306%
Manganese - 833%
Pant. Acid -124%
Phosphorus - 241%
Potassium - 210%
Riboflav - 233%
Selenium - 120%
Sodium - 108%
Thiamin - 174%
Water (2,491.7 g)
Zinc - 187%
I would love to see both the menu created for the class ~zootnarf~ and a day in the eating plan of ~stamatiaa~
I try really hard to get enough of everything, and am getting better, but some areas still fall perpetually short. (except calories and carbs - those are easy to get)
Hmmm, let me hunt around and see if I can find it. It's been a few years, but I'm pretty sure I saved it. I should mention that is was so difficult because we also couldn't go over the RDIs by much, either. To get everything in near exact balance is very difficult because if you add one food for a nutrient you were low in, it would inevitably bump one or more too high. I'll post it if I can find it. It was a great experiment.
Great input so far, thank you everyone. Zootnarf, your class project sounds like a tough challenge; I would love to see the final outcome. BTW, it looks like you've reached your goal weight… Congrats! Stamatiaa, thank you for posting that; it looks like you seriously have it together. How can I send you my email address? (Newbie.) I feared that I'd need too many calories to fulfill the recommended intake but you prove it can be done with a very delicious menu, to boot. I need to reassess my approach, and start focusing more on planning nutrient-dense meals, instead of just avoiding the bad stuff. Lately, when I go to the market, I just feel rushed and confused. Shibaluvr, I've never heard of Zoic before but it looks like it could make a nice dessert.
BabyBiscotti - That's right. Fill your meals with the most nutrient-dense foods and you will meet (and exceed!) the nurtitional targets. ANDI Score is great for that. Nutrient-density also works to "crowd-out" the bad stuff - making it easier to eat fewer calories.
My journal - You can see my food journal if you make your journal "public" and make me your friend. Just note that I am already maintaining my weight loss (nearly one year! wohoo!). I still follow the nutrient-dense eating strategy, but I don't need to maintain a calorie deficit any more.