As a college professor in the Kinesiology department, I've assigned the same assignent to my students every semester for the past 15 years. It's simply called "The Nutrition Assignment". Students are required to keep track of their nutrition for three continuous days. When receiving this assignment most of the students complain about having to go to the trouble tracking nutrition and writing a 500 page paper explaining what they learned about their nutrition.
After they've completed and turned in the assignment, many of the students write about how they were very happy they did the assignment because they learned so much about their own personal nutrition. A lot of students who think they healthy find out that they don't. Because of the great experiences my college students have, I give the same assignment to all of my new personal training clients.
Everyone can benefit from this assignment so if you have never tracked your nutrition, I highly recommend that you do. You'll quickly find out if you're eating too much fat in your diet, too much sugar, too much or not enough protein, and even if you should be taking a vitamin supplement or not.
There are a lot of great resources to help you with your assignment. If you have a smart phone, I strongly recommend you get an app to assist you in this task because you can use the phone to scan food labels. After the first day it becomes much easier because people are generally creatures of habit and will duplicate many of the items on the menu from day-to-day. If you don't have a smart phone there are plenty of websites that allow you to keep track online. The app that I use is called called FatSecret and can be found at www.FatSecret.com.
Knowing what type of nutrients you're putting into your body makes a huge difference in your health and performance!
Here are some key measurements that you would want to take note of:
Total daily grams of protein
Total percent of fact, protein and carbohydrates consumed
Total calories consumed
Here are the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges according to the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies:
Fat 20 - 35%
Carbohydrate 45 - 65%
Protein 10 - 35%
Do yourself a favor and start tracking nutrition for three days beginning today. It will be well worth the time it takes (which is a long at all). If you have any questions, please let me know! I can be reached at tim@Edge-Trainer.com.