View Full Version : So just what is a healthy diet?

08-19-2005, 01:47 PM
Or more aptly, more stuff my mama never taught me...

Now that camp is over, I once again have full control over my own diet. I lost weight and gained some muscle over the summer and I would like to continue on that trend. I've been looking through the forum and through google, but all the information on google is either vague or contradictory. Here I've found lotsa info for what to eat *while* riding and right before and after (my tummy thanks you all greatly for it too!), but now I'd like to fill in the gaps.

I've mostly been trying to eat what I consider to be "whole" foods. My definition includes eggs, veggies, fruit, cheese, yogurt...pretty much just non-convenience items. I've been experimentling with "healthy" foods like hummus (yum!) and kefir (lil sketchy on that one) and I've even learned how to make my own pita crisps, but I'm a little stuck. I'm scared of things that are too spendy or sound too complicated and I have absolutely no clue about portion control. For a while before camp I had been simply giving myself half my normal portion and filling the rest of my plate with fruits and veggies, but I'm sure there are better methods than that.

I'm not into cottage cheese or salad (unless it's fruit salad), but I'm quite happy to munch on all the "traditional" veggies and fruits and I like to cook as long as it doesn't take *too* long...

Anyone have any website, book, etc recommendations for places to get menus or meals from? I'm good at ferreting out recipes on places like allrecipes (http://www.allrecipes.com) and Recipe Source (http://recipessource.com) but I'm bad at evaluating healthfulness and combining things into meals or into a daily allotment.


08-19-2005, 02:06 PM
don't have any recipes and I hate to cook too. If I can't throw it in the oven and forget about it or pop it in the microwave - it don't happen!

That being said here is what I've been eating for the past 3 yrs and have felt ever so much better for it - I've also lost 51 lbs in that time and I can't even tell you how much body fat. I only eat 3x a day coz I don't have between meal hungries (specially since I resolved my whole gluten issue) and every meal is a protein, a veggie, a grain and a fruit. Even breakfast. For whatever reason I want something to munch on about 8:30 at night so I eat an apple, or rice cakes with PB, or pineapple rings....that's it. As for portions on the grain, 1/3-1/2 cup cooked per meal.

08-19-2005, 02:26 PM
For portion control I would recomend a food scale ($25 at target)

After weighing EVERYTHING for about 6 months, I can now eyeball portions almost perfectly! It's a huge help when you're out to eat.

08-21-2005, 09:23 PM
Unfortunately, my budget won't allow for a food scale quite yet. I do like the suggestion of eating an item from each of the food groups for every meal, although I'm not sure how to figure a serving of veggies for breakfast?

Are there any good, free on-line trackers?

08-22-2005, 03:46 AM
I use the free online version of fitday, it's a great tool, but it only works if you're accurate with portion sizes. You also have to add sleep as an activity, it assumes you're awake 24/7 otherwise which gives you a crazy calorie burn.

08-22-2005, 06:36 AM
when it comes to losing weight and riding, I can't do it! I can ride 90-100 miles a week and gain weight :mad: I did try on a pair of pants that last time I wore were snug, they were still a little snug not as bad, but the legs were tight! Hopefully the 4 lbs. I gained are water or muscle.

I have almost quit eating meat, I do have 1-2 Coke's a day, which I am cutting out, but when it comes to most veggies, eat all you want! they have very little calories and lots of good vitamins, as long as they are raw or prepared w/o a lot of oil, etc. I find that 2 big bowls of salad work for me, with a little protein for dinner, and some fruit later or a fruit popsicle.

Again, I haven't lost weight, I seem to have to add running into my schedule to keep my weight down.

I eat about 5 times a day and while I am doing a long ride, I try to stick to natural foods but most don't quite a rumbling tummy, I eat p.b. crackers and granola bars - sugar I know, but they stop the hungry pains. I don't know where else to cut back to lose weight, this has always been a problem for me, sure wish I could afford a trip or two to a nutritionist.

Good luck

08-22-2005, 08:20 AM
Yeah, my body is used to constant snacking as well. I figured from only having three squares a day all summer at camp that I would be able to tolerate it now with maybe just an afternoon snackie. Yesterday's meals looked like:

B: cup of yogurt (lowfat)
S: handful of berries
L: granola (full bowl) with 1% milk and fresh rasberries
D: Yakisoba noodles with lean pork, fresh sugar peas and infant carrots

And of course couple all this with plenty of water! Sounded healthy to me, but I was starving all day even though according to the box I ate 2-3 servings of granola and the noodle packet (our local Winco sells fresh stirfry noodles in the veggie section, much healthier and tastier than ramen) informs me that it was also two servings (and that was before all of my additions!)

I'm going food shopping today, so I'm picking up more whole grain bread since I'm note sure if there's enough carbs from that kind of menu. Most of the dinners I make feature either pasta, potatoes or rice though. The cooks gave me a ten pound bag of instant brown rice to schlepp home, so I guess I'm now making the switch! I'm sure some of the nutrition is lost in the conversion process (which is why I *never* bought that kind of white rice), but I'm sure it's probably still somewhat healthy and I couldn't beat the price!

Right now I've been snacking on fresh berries since I made it to the farmer's market this weekend, but I generally snack on tortillas with hummus or make them into nachos (just chips and cheese for me!) for a heavy snack/light meal. I buy the healthiest of the brands that come in economy sizing so that I can afford whole wheat tortillas for making quesadillas (just like my nachos, these are just cheese and tortilla, no sour cream or anything added) or bean and turkey burritos. I haven't determined if my love of hard cheese is compatible with a healthy diet, but I've cut back substantially just in case.

08-22-2005, 09:02 AM
You could also check out Nancy Clark's sport nutrition book. My library had it so I read it before I bought my own copy.

09-13-2005, 05:51 PM
roughingit, all of the foods you listed look wonderfully healthy, but I don't see very much protein there. If you're not into meat, you may want to look at consuming more nuts, legumes and soy protein (though... in moderation, go easy on the soy).

I use the pay-for online calorie tracking at Calorie King (http://www.calorieking.com). I had been using their free database for years to look up the values of various food items when I was journalling calories manually, but eventually doing it by hand became so cumbersome that I, uh, just stopped. And gained weight. It's a nice interface and was only about $30 for a year, pretty reasonable IMO.

09-14-2005, 06:33 AM
there are some good guidelines out there for serving sizes:

a serving of meat (chicken, steak etc) is a deck of cards or the size of your palm.

cheese is your thumb (or a pair of dice)

most fruit is a tennis ball

rice and pastas are about 3/4 of a cup. (COOKED!)

most bagels are 2-3 servings of grains, a full pita is two servings.

Googlie Wooglie
09-14-2005, 09:40 AM
I have to throw a shout out for Cooking Light magazine. Lots of good healthy recipes and a really nice variety of cultures represented (I love thai food and they've had some wonderful noodle dishes). I make many, many meals using their recipes (quite a few available online on their website too) and they're flexible enough to swap out ingredients you don't care for.

Healthy cooking AND portion control are the keys to healthy diet ... at least thats what works for me.

09-14-2005, 05:23 PM
I've been trying to eat more meat than I had in the past, especially the red stuff since I have low iron. My biggest thing is remembering to put in the fridge to defrost it the night before, since I find the microwave where I'm living doesn't do that very well. For some reason I was thinking the cheese and yogurt were ok-ish sources of protein? Guess I'll go look them up :o

Hmmm....my servings of cheese look more like what my serving of meat should look like.... :eek:

I'll have to take a peek and see if my library has that mag, if the recipes aren't too fancified it sounds good!

10-31-2005, 11:10 AM
What do you mean by portion control ? I've always heard that we should smaller portions but I didn't figure out what is the optimum potion for me ? How do you do it ladies ?

I don't! :D ;)

10-31-2005, 01:23 PM
You could start with the USDA.


11-01-2005, 06:12 AM
I am trying to lose weight and also eat better. I work a desk job, commute in my car 40 minutes to work and back. So there's a lot of sitting.

For 22 days now. I have tracked my eating, exercise and fluid intake via a little program called Diet & Exercise Assistant. It's a program for those who have Palm PDAs or PocketPC.

It allows me to follow calories, carbs, fats, s.fats, protein and fiber. It has been quite illuminating seeing what I was eating and where I was really deficient.

To add accountability to my efforts, I make a post on my blog each night.

For me, I've found having some cottage cheese, fruit in the morning along with a low sodium V8 is working.

I then have a snack, either a granola bar, fruit, or some veggies and hummus.

For lunch, I could not feel full from Lean Cuisines. So I usually get some sort of pasta dish, or home made stir fry with tofu or chicken. I also try to make lunch one of my bigger meals for the day.

In the afternoon I have another snack. I have Wasa Fiber crackers, because I was having a deficiency in fiber. With some Lite Laughing Cow Cheese.

For dinner, it's a wide range. I've been having soups, salad, turkey burgers, stir fry, salmon, and lots of veggies.

The biggest things I've noticed is my digestion has gotten a lot better. And I no longer have the afternoon slump of almost falling asleep around 2:00-3:00.

Good luck with your efforts at eating healthier.

11-03-2005, 06:24 AM
The K750i is a very nice phone! :)

You'd need a Palm OS or PocketPC to use Diet & Exercise Assistant. It really isn't hard to enter into at all. Since most everything is in the database, and if it's not, it's only a matter of a few fields to fill in.

Here are some screen shots.

Daily Log Page (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_00.gif)
Food Journal Page (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_01.gif)
Selecting a Food (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_02.gif)
Searching for a Food in the DB (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_03.gif)
Weight Chart (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_04.gif)
Historic Weight Chart (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_05.gif)
Histogram Analysis (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_06.gif)
Diet Plan Selection (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_07.gif)
Set Weight Goals (http://www.dianaleroi.com/dea/dea_08.gif)

I use a Palm Treo 650 to enter all this into, it's pretty easy. It works for me. :)

11-07-2005, 12:01 PM
As far as recipes go - I can't speak highly enough about the new American Heart Association cookbook! It is ~amazing~! We haven't tried a recipe yet that isn't really yummy! And no matter how weird something sounds - try it you'll be surprised! Like the meatloaf has shredded zucchini in it....how gross does that sound? But it is one of the best meatloafs I've ever had! And the chicken parm is to dye for! You put brocolli slaw in the marinara for that one!

The recipes are really easy - and it's stuff you normally have around the house. I hate those recipes that call for things that you can only get at specialty stores. When you live in rural PA - there are no specialty stores!

Plus it has some really good tips in it to help you with generally being healthy. I went to see a nutrionist to get help and one of the best things she taught me is to eat ~something~ every 2 hours - even if it is only a sugar free jello cup. Whether you're hungry or not! If you wait to eat until you're hungry - it's already too late. Your metabolism has slowed down and gone into conservation mode. Where as if you just pop something in your mouth on a regular basis - your metabolism keeps chugging away and doesn't slow down because it thinks you're starting to starve yourself.

This is a link to the web site that talks about the book - http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3031890

11-07-2005, 02:08 PM
I'll share what works for me which is also FREE. First of all, I use the "Nutrition Data" http://www.nutritiondata.com/index.html to track 95% of my food. The really cool thing about this site is that you can build your very own pantry with the foods that YOU eat. Even better, you can custom build your own recipes and keep them stored forever. For example, my son requested Chicken Enchillads this weekend. No problem, I went to my pantry to find the recipe which completly breaks down every nutritional fact you need to know. I really only concern myslef with Fat, Carbs, and Proteins. It will give you options what size serving your prefer. For this recipe, I like to choose the 100g (or about 3.5 oz) serving. So, it informs me (it does all the work ) that there are 4g of Fat, 6g of Carbs, and 8g of Protein per 100g. Now keep in mind that this recipe was created and imputed by me with the kind of food I like, not anyone else. You only need input the recipe once and it is saved forever to use again and again... It has everything I like to eat etc.. It took me about two weeks to custom build my pantry they way I like it, but now it's a snap. It also can track many fast food restaurants. It's very simple and easy to use. It also can track your calories for you if you prefer to do that option. I don't use it much, as I track them myself. I consulted with a diatician. Given my type of exercize, my body type etc., and the fact that I am wanting to lose weight, she has set me up on a 1800-2000 per day calorie diet (1000 Carbs Calories or 250g; 500 Protein Calories or 125g; and 500 Fat Calories or 125g). I count grams and not convert to calories. I can eat however, whatever, and whenever I want as long as I not consume more than alotted calories per day. So I budget all day long with the meals and snacks that I eat. I basically eat the same way I did before. It really coms down to portions control and Miracle Whip Free instead of the regular etc..

A scale is a must for two reasons: 1. It's is easier & faster than using measureing cups and spoons. 2. It is so accurate! My scale (Salter 1400) can weigh multiple single items at once. So, when building a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, I set the scale to zero as I put on each individual ingrediant and it weighs it individually to the gram. Love it!! Just as fast as not using it, and I know exactly how many calories I'm consuming, I then record. I have a system that only requires mere seconds to record, so very easy and efficient.

It didn't take long either before I started find the foods that helped me feel filled and energized. That's what is cool, is you discover what you like to eat and what fill you best. Everyone is a bit different. I eat about 7-8 times a day keeping my engine running and burning. Sounds like a lot, but most times, it's an apple and a cheese stick etc. Simple and quickie foods that I like.

Anyway, I have used this system each time I had a baby and needed to lose it. It works!! Once I get my weight back down, I up my calories to maintain only and not lose. It does take awhile to get the hang of it, but after awhile, it becomes second nature and is just a part of life. I would recommend NOT weighting yourself much as this is like watching the Stock Market each day, it's a rollar coaster effect. You are losing fat, but also muscle which weighs more, so you will actually gain in the beginning. Instead measure with a cloth tape and only once in awile. Inches is really where it counts not lbs. I measure at the end of every 4 weeks and record. You will lose, but keep in mind it is a slow and steady loss, which is the way it should be anyway.

Anyway, thought I would share....

11-07-2005, 02:32 PM
One thing I forgot to mention is that those who use Nutrition Data can share pantries. In other words, when I put together a recipe for example that my sisnter-in-law would like, I just email it to her and she can import it into her own pantry and have it forever. She can edit it if she likes. If she wants to substitude sausage in place of hamburgar for example, she can do that and ND will reconfigure it.