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Eat This, Not That: A Comparison of Two Meal Plans

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Every day, we are constantly faced with choices about what to eat. For most of us, it's got to be quick and easy, and it's got to taste good. Unfortunately, the healthy benefits of a particular food don't always come into play. The truth is that the foods we select have a profound effect on our health, weight, and energy levels.

With a little thought and planning, you can make a few dietary adjustments that can result in a tremendous difference in your daily intake of nutrients. Take a look at the variances between a day's worth of two sample meals.

Eat This

Not That


1/3 cup rolled oats soaked in 1 cup unsweetened soymilk with 1 mashed banana, ½ cup blueberries, and 1 T ground flax

1/3 cup instant oats cooked in 1 cup whole milk with 1 T sugar


½ cup cooked quinoa, 1 cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup steamed sweet potato, 1 cup steamed mushrooms, ¼ cup peanut sauce

8" hoagie roll, 2 slices of cheddar cheese, 2 slices of turkey, 2 T mayonnaise, 1 cup potato chips


Apple with 2 T almond butter

1 cup Pretzels


1 cup whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup spaghetti squash, ½ cup tomato sauce, ½ cup lentils, 1 cup steamed kale

2 cups spaghetti, ½ cup Alfredo sauce, slice of bread with 1 T butter


Brownie made with 1 medjool date, 3 Brazil nuts, and ½ T cocoa powder

2" baked brownie square

Total Daily Calories



If the more healthful meals seem complicated, consider that you can prepare them ahead of time or even by using leftovers. For example, you can make your own overnight oats by mixing up the ingredients in a bowl the night before. In the morning, just take out of the fridge and stir, and it's ready to eat. Rather than make a sandwich to take to work for lunch, pack up leftovers from dinner the night before.

For something sweet, whip up your own healthy no-bake fudgy brownies. Just add equal amounts of dates and nuts with some cocoa powder and a pinch of salt, and process in your food processor. Press into a pan or roll into balls.

In the end, these better decisions make up a difference of over 700 calories, and there is no deprivation involved. In fact, you get to eat even more by choosing the healthier foods! Fiber content is significantly higher, which will help keep you full, stabilize your blood sugar, and aid with digestion. Phytochemicals and antioxidants from plants are far more abundant in the healthy meal plan, and these offer protection from disease.

Vitamins and Minerals

Here we see a noteworthy increase in nutrition with the Eat This meal option. Vitamin A content is over twice as high and the majority of the other vitamins and minerals are dramatically superior. The Not That meal plan did not even provide the minimum RDA for several nutrients. Check out the following percentages of the RDA for Eat This vs. Not That:
  • Vitamin C: 316% vs. 7%
  • Vitamin E: 150% vs. 38%
  • Iron: 136% vs. 75%
  • Magnesium: 211% vs. 72%
  • Potassium: 106% vs. 33%
It is clear that the Eat This way of eating is nutrient-rich, while the Not That approach is lacking nutrients.

Now ask yourself what tweaks you can make to your diet to reap maximum nutrition for fewer calories!

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. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition

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