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A Dietitian's Review of a FitDay User's Journal

Fitday Editor

We chose one lucky FitDay user to participate in a new feature in which one of our FitDay dietitians review your diet journal and give an assessment of your eating and exercise habits. Read on to learn from Samantha K.'s experience.

Your BMI of 20.16 is in the healthy range which is 18.5-25, however I think your goal weight is on the low side for a woman your height (5'7") and it would almost put you in the underweight category which can be dangerous. You don't want to deprive your body of the calories it needs to function optimally. Just something to keep in mind.

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In looking over this past week of food entries, I see that you are doing a good job of making sure you are consuming fruits and vegetables. Eat as many vegetables as you can each day and be sure to vary the types. Try to have at least three fruits per day also. These are key sources of important vitamins, minerals and fiber! You are also doing well with whole grains. Yes, your popcorn counts as a whole grain! I recommend eating only 100% whole grain products. I do see some refined grains such as white bread that I would suggest you replace with whole grain. Also, check the ingredient list on your Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal-- it's got whole grain wheat, but rice is the first ingredient and it contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and BHT (a preservative).

As for your nutrition summary for the week, there are a few nutrients that you were low in that I will address below:

Vitamin D. Yours was 3.9mcg and it should be at least 5mcg. This one is actually pretty hard to achieve through diet. We get most of our vitamin D through the sunshine, so if you are outdoors frequently you will be getting some that way. Other sources include fish, mushrooms and fortified foods, such as many cereals and milks. You can check your almond milk container to see if you have one that contains added vitamin D. If you are concerned about your levels, you can always ask your doctor to do a simple blood test to ensure there is no deficiency.

Vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, pantothenic acid and zinc levels were also on the low end. The RDA for vitamin E is 15mg while your intake was 11.9mg; the RDA for magnesium is 310mg while your intake was 202.4mg; the RDA for selenium is 55mcg while your intake was 36.7mcg; the RDA for pantothenic acid is 5mg while your intake was 2.3mg; the RDA for zinc is 8mg while your intake was 6.9mg. A great way to increase these is to add some nuts and seeds to your diet. I saw a few but try to aim for about an ounce or two per day. Go for a variety and try to include at least a couple brazil nuts per day as those are super high in selenium and eating just one or two will take care of the RDA for that mineral for the day. Pumpkin seeds are a great way to get your zinc. Sunflower seeds are rich in both pantothenic acid and vitamin E. Look for raw, unsalted nuts and seeds.

Your sodium intake was high. It was 2,956mg and it should be less than 1,500mg. Check your packaged food products for sodium levels because soups, lunch meats and frozen meals are often loaded with salt.

Your calcium was somewhat on the low side too (769.7mg), however I believe that the 1,000mg that is recommended in our country is questionably high. Many other parts of the world consume much less than this amount and have lower levels of osteoporosis than we do. Bone health is complicated and is related more to calcium balance than calcium intake. Keep in mind, however, that being too thin can be a risk for osteoporosis. You want to maintain a healthy weight so that your body doesn't have to extract minerals from your bones to get the nutrition it needs.

Your potassium level was very low. It was 1,926mg and it should be 4,700mg. Try eating bananas, avocados, leafy greens, lima beans, squash, papaya or actually pretty much any veggie. Also, many fruits are great sources of this vital mineral. Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate muscle and nerve function. With the workouts you do, I would highly recommend that you make the extra effort to consume enough potassium.

A few other suggestions that come to mind are: instead of dry cereal every morning maybe change it up with some oatmeal. This is a perfect chance to add in those nuts and seeds. Look for dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) which is tremendously high in antioxidants instead of other candies. You can boost up some of those lower nutrient levels with more plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains) and fewer processed meats.

Your food intake is high in many nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, the B vitamins, and iron. It is also not excessive in animal protein which is great. You don't eat a lot of calories so it is extra important to make sure that you are eating the most nutrient dense foods possible. This will provide you with the highest levels of nutrition with the least amount of calories. Check on your nutrition graph throughout the day which will bring to your attention the nutrients you are low in- then you can focus on consuming the specific foods that contain those necessary vitamins and minerals. Keep up your great eating habits!

Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best.If you would be interested in working with Corinne one-on-one, sign-up for FitDay Dietitians.

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