01 09 10 Tweet Dietitians Eat Chocolate Too: A food log in the life of...Breakfast

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A food log in the life of...Breakfast

One of the most common comments I usually get (or anyone in the field of dietetics) is:

"Oh, I bet you eat really healthy."

Often times people perceive that I'm judging whatever's on someone's plate, ball parking weight, or the calories in particular foods (OK, I'm definitely guilty of the last one). Dietitians (or their lowly dietetic interns) really aren't out to be the food police despite what "Honey We're Killing the Kids" on TLC makes us out to be.

I don't eat tofu and I wouldn't force a steak and potatoes Midwestern family to either (no matter what, I've tried it, and it doesn't taste like chicken or steak for the matter).
I proudly own a few Paula Deen cookbooks and have a stick of butter in my refrigerator to prove it. At times I feel like I need to prove my junk food "street cred" and avoid coming off as holier than thou, just because my profession is synonymous with the food police.

But what do I eat? Here's a general idea of a day in the life of...my breakfast, ah, the first in a 3 part series.

My personal guidelines are thus:

I eat 1400-1600 calories per day. This breaks down into:

*5 servings of vegetables (non-starchy)
*2-3 servings of fruit
*2-3 servings of dairy (I'm a bit lazy about this one)
*3-4 servings of protein (whether it's meat or a vegetarian source)
*and finally, get at least 30 g of fiber per day.

Disclaimer: Gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat at a time and drink plenty of
water (if you eat a lot at once you may be visiting the bathroom or have a bout of gas
--phew). Your stomach will thank me later.

Eating calories is like balancing your checkbook. The only difference is that you always want to come out at $0 to maintain your weight (e.g. eat as much as you burn off). Eat less and move more to lose weight or eat more and move less to gain weight (this is the easiest one, which I'm as guilty as you are). Check out the USDA's interactive food guide pyramid (http://www.mypyramid.gov/) for more information about your nutritional needs.

I usually start out with a bowl of cereal, oatmeal, or an omelet with low-fat mozzarella and vegetables. I usually go with 5 or more grams of fiber and some protein, so I suggest trying the kashi line, snagging some whole grain English muffins (try Thomas English muffins with 8 g of fiber per serving) with some ricotta cheese.*

*I'm a huge fan of ricotta cheese, studies show that whey protein is the most satisfying and filling.

Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less probably because they don't feel the need to binge later on in the day--mom was right after all. Other benefits include: better concentration and performance in the classroom or at work, more strength and endurance for physical activity, and lower cholesterol levels.

"In a study presented at the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting, researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center compared weight loss in women who ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast. The two breakfast meals were identical in calories and volume. Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their … blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels," reports researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, PhD."
(From: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/many-benefits-breakfast)

Tuft's Health & Nutrition Newsletter further praises breakfast:
(view the article at http://healthletter.tufts.edu/issues/2004-03/breakfast.html)

Take Home Points
*Eat fiber and protein, it'll fill you up the fastest.
*By eating breakfast you're starting up your metabolism, protein furthers the boost.
*Whether you eat waffles, bagels, or anything aim for 5 g of fiber and 5 or more grams of protein.