Analysis of a simple food diary, identifying which nutrients may be lacking and which foods can be added to redress the balance
|1||Muesli with tbsp of milled flaxseeds/ almonds/ walnuts and coenzyme q10 served with almond milk||Wholemeal wrap with scrambled egg and spinach and chilli||Rabbit stew with carrots and mini roast potatoes
1/3 tin rice pudding
|2||White bread muffin, avocado and scrambled eggs made with butter||Tomato and basil soup with 2 slices 50/50 bread and butter||Vegetable stir fry with noodles
natural yoghurt with honey
|Packet of crisps|
|3||Porridge with honey made with cows semi skimmed milk||Poached eggs with ½ tin mackerel in spicy tomato sauce||Seafood paella||Cheese and crackers|
The Eatwell plate recommends about 33% of the diet is starchy carbohydrates, 33% is fruit and vegetables, 12% should be protein, 15% should be dairy and non dairy alternatives with the remaining 7% allowing for oils and spreads.
The food diary above demonstrates that this diet provides about the recommended amount of starchy carbohydrates. This is through bread muffin, muesli and porridge oats for breakfast, wrap and bread for lunch and rice, noodles and potatoes for dinner, as well as rice pudding and crackers.
The Fruit and vegetables part of the plate does not appear to be met from this diet. With only avocado as a fruit for breakfast, spinach and tomatoes for lunch, and a selection of vegetables across the three dinners and a banana once for a snack. Particularly missing is the provision of fruit. A lack of fruit and vegetables in the diet means that many vitamins and minerals are not being adequately provided.
Nuts, eggs, rabbit, fish and cheese provide the 12% of protein required for a balanced diet. While the dairy and non dairy alternatives are almost met with the inclusion of almond and cows milk for breakfast and rice pudding and cheese. Oil is used for cooking the eggs and dinner with a vegetable spread on the bread and crackers which contributes towards the 7% for fats on the Eatwell plate.
It is important to eat the five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables per day, to ensure a person is not reliant upon one food type to provide their nutritional needs. With long term deficiency different systems of the body will be affected. Deficiencies in the most available fruit vitamins; vitamin A, Vitamin B1/3/6 and Vitamin C can lead to growth difficulties, nerve inflammation and muscular malfunction, skin and metabolic disorders, digestive problems and a weakened immune system.
The World Health Organisation report in 2003 notes that low intake of fruit and vegetables is one of the top ten risk factors of global mortality. If the recommended at 400g of fruit and vegetables are eaten, daily then the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal and stomach cancers and obesity are decreased. While the food journal above does not show that a lack of fruit and vegetables is because of excess fats, carbohydrates or protein, which would increase the risk of obesity, over time as the metabolism changes due to exercise pattern and age the imbalance will start to show through ill health. A lack of fruit and vegetables in the diet means that that the correct balance of micronutrients and fibres are not being met, from the food journal vitamins B1 and C, and potassium are all under represented.
It is clear from comparing the food journal and the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals that each supports the other and enhance how they work within the body. Getting a daily balance is important and the best way to do this is to eat a wide and varied diet whilst keeping to a portion size necessary to maintain a healthy body weight.
Including fresh fruit with breakfast, as a dessert or as a regular snack would aid the increase in the provision of vital vitamins and minerals. Fruit can be prepared first thing in the morning so that it is chopped or peeled and ready to eat on the go making it as much of a convenience food as a bag of crisps.