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We Had a Dietitian Evaluate Our Diets—Here’s How We Did

Healthy eating goes beyond calories, fats and carbohydrates. Getting enough protein, fiber and nutrients like vitamins and minerals plays an essential role to health, as does avoiding alarming amounts of sugar and sodium.

I teamed up with another Swanson employee, Alex, to track five days of our very different eating plans. You’ll find these tracking lists below, and you’ll hear from our nutritionist, Britta, as to what we do well and what we can improve on.

A little background: I’ve been on Weight Watchers for about six months and strive to meet my target Smart Point number each day. Alex doesn’t follow a specific meal plan, but he’s overall in much better shape than I am and has a more consistent fitness schedule.

Update: Alex drinks an average of 80-100 ounces of water per day. Jenna drinks an average of 80 ounces of water per day.

Alex's Weekly Meal Plan

 


Monday

Breakfast:

English muffin bread (2 slices)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

Coffee (24 ounces)

Alex's Monday breakfast

Lunch:

Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bar

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)
 

Dinner:

Culver's cheeseburger

Culver's French fries (small)

Culver's chicken tenders (2)

Diet Mountain Dew (18 ounces)
 

Other:

Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bar

Light Natural Mozzarella String Cheese

Pacific Gold beef jerky


Tuesday

Breakfast:

English muffin bread (2 slices)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

Coffee (24 ounces)

Lunch:

Homemade chicken salad

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)

 

Dinner:

Stouffer's Lasagna with Meat & Sauce

Breadstick

 

Alex's Tuesday dinner

Other:

Swanson Health Products Peak Protein Powder (1 scoop)

Founders Azacca Ale (12 ounces)


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Coffee (24 ounces)

 

Lunch:

Homemade turkey sandwich on wheat bread

Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)

 

Dinner:

Costco frozen pepperoni pizza

Celery and carrot sticks

Bleu cheese (1 ounce)

 

Alex's Wednesday dinner

Other:

English muffin bread (1 slice)

Peanut butter (1 tablespoon)

Tangerine

Founders Azacca Ale (12 ounces)

 


Thursday

Breakfast:

Whole grain bread (1 slice)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

Coffee (24 ounces)

 

Lunch:

Homemade chicken salad

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)

Alex's Thursday lunch

Dinner:

Grilled cheese sandwich

Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup (1 cup)

Saltines (10 crackers)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

 

Other:

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)

Mountain Dew Kick Start (16 ounces)

Nature Valley Peanut Butter Bar

Pacific Gold beef jerky

 


Friday

Breakfast:

Whole grain bread (1 slice)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

Coffee (24 ounces)

Alex's Friday breakfast

Lunch:

BBQ ribs (2)

American cheese slice (1)

Diet Mountain Dew (20 ounces)

 

Dinner:

Burger King Whopper sandwich

Burger King French fries (medium)

Diet Coke (30 ounces)

 

Other:

Alaskan Brewery Company Smoked Porter (16 ounces)

 


Nutritionist Assessment: For someone who is frequently hitting the gym, Alex's high protein intake is great! The main thing I would really like to see in his diet is more fruits and vegetables. For example, he could add in a banana or an apple for a snack, raw veggies as part of his lunch or sneak in some steamed vegetables as a side at dinner. His daily fiber intake is lower than ideal. Adding in those fruits and vegetables will help boost that, along with providing many of the nutrients he’s missing without them. He could also try swapping in a whole wheat version of English muffin at breakfast to boost the fiber intake, as whole grains are lacking in his diet as well. There is nothing wrong with having the occasional splurge of a fast food dinner or an afternoon soda, but limiting it to no more than once a week would be a good idea.

 

Jenna’s Weekly Meal Plan

 


Monday

Breakfast:

Premier Protein Chocolate protein shake with espresso over ice

Cuties California mandarins (2)

Lemon poppy seed muffins (2 mini, homemade)

 

Lunch:

Hawaiian Chicken (homemade, chicken and pineapple with soy/brown sugar sauce)

Baby bell peppers (5)

Wholly Guacamole side

 

Jenna's Monday breakfast

Dinner:

Vegetable Korma

Garlic Naan bred

 

Other:

Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (2)


Tuesday

Breakfast:

Kix cereal with unsweetened almond milk

Premier Protein Chocolate protein shake with espresso over ice

Cuties California mandarins (2)

 

Lunch:

Hawaiian Chicken

Baby bell peppers (5)

Wholly Guacamole side

 

Dinner:

White Albacore tuna with Frank's Buffalo sauce and Bolthouse Farms Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Wheat Thins Reduced Fat

Bibb lettuce

Cucumber

Cherubs salad tomatoes

Red pepper slices

 

Jenna's Tuesday breakfast

Other:

Whole cashews (1/4 cup)

Lemon poppy seed muffins (2 mini, homemade)

Fat Free Cool Whip


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Food for Life Ezekiel whole grain sprouted bread

PB2 powdered peanut butter

Premier Protein Chocolate protein shake with espresso over ice

Cuties California mandarins (2)

 

Jenna's Wednesday breakfast

Lunch:

Hawaiian Chicken with salsa

Chicken and dumpling soup (cup) with Saltine crackers (4)

Baby bell peppers (5)

 

Dinner:

Perkins Spinach & Mushroom Scramble

 

Other:

Pink Lady apple

Almond butter

 


Thursday

Breakfast:

Kix cereal with unsweetened almond milk

Premier Protein Chocolate protein shake with espresso over ice

Banana

 

Lunch:

Half turkey sandwich with vegetables (no cheese or sauce)

Tomato basil soup (bowl) with Saltine crackers (4)

 

Dinner:

Salad with spinach, turkey bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, pecans, Cherubs tomatoes and Bolthouse Farms Bleu Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Laughing Cow white cheddar cheese wedge

Wheat Thins Reduced Fat

 

Jenna's Thursday dinner

Other:

Trader Joe's 100 calorie dark chocolate bar (70% cacao)

 


Friday

Breakfast:

Premier Protein Chocolate protein shake with espresso over ice

Lemon poppy seed muffins (2 mini, homemade)

English muffin with PB2

 

Lunch:

Beef Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms

Edamame Hummus with pita chips (8) and mixed vegetables

Cinnamon donut

 

Jenna's Friday lunch

Dinner:

Sweet potato roll

Shrimp tempura roll

Seaweed salad

Miso soup

 

Other:

Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge

Wheat Thins Reduced Fat

Pink Lady apple

 


Nutritionist Assessment: Looking at this weekly food journal, it’s clear that Jenna is following a well-structured diet plan. She is including daily fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. I would like to see a few more whole grain substitutions in this diet, like swapping out the carb-loaded muffins and the Kix cereal for something less processed like oatmeal or whole wheat toast. I love that she includes little cheats and treats into the diet—it’s all about balance.


From the Nutritionist: How to Analyze Your Diet

To analyze your own food journal, it’s important to first know your individual nutritional requirements. Your caloric and nutrient recommendations will vary based on your height, weight and activity level. Once your caloric level is calculated, you can determine the amount of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates/fiber, fat) and serving sizes of different food groups (fruits and vegetables) that would be best for your body. Having a food journal is a very useful tool for tracking where you might be falling short on your requirements and where you may be overindulging.

 

What tips do you have for ensuring a healthy eating plan?

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