Opinions on & suggestions for my daily diet

  1. Recently, I've gained 5 pounds and can't shed it. My eating habits & exercise (~30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, varied exercises) have not changed at all, but I think I need to start cutting back. I'm a very monotonous person (and don't like many foods), so each day, here is my basic food diet:

    Morning: Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, chocolate chip muffin (I make them myself, approx 200 calories), banana

    Lunch: Salad (lettuce, carrots, about 1-2 small chicken tenderloins (baked or grilled), very small amount of fat free ranch dressing)

    Afternoon snacks: Tootsie pop, 6 Hershey hugs, approx 100 calories of pretzels, 1 apple, 1 additional fruit (peach, strawberries, watermelon -- though w/ watermelon, I likely have 2 servings).

    Option1 - 4-5 days per week: 4 ritz crackers, peanut butter (probably 2 servings [4 tbsp] of peanut butter...); handful of grapes
    Option2 - 2-3 days per week: 2 small chicken tenderloins (baked or grilled) with ketchup, grilled 5-6 asparagus stalks

    I also only drink water...and white wine if I am out for drinks with friends, but I've decided I will only get 1 glass from now on (used to be 2).

    Is there anything I should cut? It's a lot of carbs, but some of that is fruit (banana, apple, grapes, watermelon, peach). I know the muffin is one thing I can eliminate, and also cut down on the amount of peanut butter that I have on a given day.

    Also, are there any foods I should substitute? Some of other healthier foods I like: oatmeal, egg whites, most fruits, granola bars, fish.

    Thanks so much!
  2. Too many carbs. You need to cut some carbs and replace them with lean proteins. Also, I do not consider Ritz crackers/peanut butter and grapes to be "dinner." You're setting yourself up for failure by not allowing yourself to eat healthy, balanced meals. I would add things like eggs, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese sticks, nuts (in moderation), and lean meats (chicken, fish, turkey bacon, etc.). I try to add protein to every meal.
  3. I agree with all of this. Plus, I would cut out much of your snacks and items like chocolate chip muffins. A small amount of candy/junk food is ok is you are maintaining, but if I were trying to lose I would eliminate it from my diet for awhile.
    If you add protein and some vegetables to your regular meals you shouldn't crave/need such a large snack.
  4. Carbs are carbs (sort of). Just cause your carbs are coming from fruit doesn't make them any healthier to consume than carbs from crackers (again, sort of...see glycemic index).

    My suggestions.

    - Change from Dannon yogurt to plain Greek yogurt with some honey.
    - Muffin?? Can you not eat eggs? If so, get some Egg Beaters and mix some low fat cheese in them.
    - Afternoon snack, sub in some almonds instead of one of your fruits, if possible.
    - Dinner, drop the Ritz crackers and get some whole wheat Wafa crackers.

    Like VH said, get some meat up in there! How bout some lean pork and fish?
  5. Morning:
    * switch your Dannon yogurt to some low-fat greek yogurt. put some fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, slice up that banana that you have into it, etc.) in it. Muffins still have a lot of sugar and carbs and bad oil. Go with some oatmeal if you want some carbohydrates with your yogurt.

    Lunch: don't use fat-free dressing, and dressing tends to end up having a decent amount of sugar. Go with a more full-fat dressing that has better fats for you and will keep you fuller and more satisfied longer... some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice

    Snacks: lay off the sugar! some fruit is great--watermelon, berries, apples are good. carrot sticks and celery are also nice options as well. Include some protein like some low-fat cottage cheese, almonds, peanut/almond butter, etc.

    That is not enough dinner... crackers and peanut butter? I feel like a large part of the problem is that you're eating a lot of processed foods. As people have mentioned, have a small portion of fish or a few egg whites with some vegetables

    It's not about eating carbs... it's about what kind of carbs you eat. You should have more complex carbohydrates like oatmeal (not instant) and whole grains. Don't reach for the granola bar--the second ingredient is usually some sort of brown rice syrup or sugar/sweetener.

    All of that being said--do you mind mentioning what your weight/height are? It sounds like you're already not have that many calories--the ones that you are eating can definitely be exchanged for healthier caloric options. Maybe you're actually at a healthy weight?
  6. You do not eat any leafy greens ever? No salads? They are part of a balanced diet, not necessarily to lose weight, but to stay healthy. A healthy body also loses weight more easily as (emotional and physical) stress causes the body to go into emergency-mode (constantly high cortisol/adrenaline) which means packing on the pounds.

    If you don't like salad, try a green smoothie as snacks or light dinner/lunch.
  7. Agree with a lot of the above.

    Try to make most of your diet veggies (not corn or potatoes) and lean protein. Everything else is a treat and should be counted and limited, including condiments.

    Make yourself eat the healthy veggies. You can have as much of these as you want - no, eat more than you want. Plain veggies, not processed, no additional sauces or dressings. You'll get used to it. Not everything has to taste awesome. Add the veggies to your plate while you are eating the fun food. They might even make the fun food taste better (they tend to cleanse the palate).

    Anything addictive is EVIL. That includes crackers and cakes. (I don't know anyone who is addicted to plain vegetables and lean protein.)
  8. NOt enough veggies or protein. UP your intake on those and lower the carb intake. Switch some of your fruit to veggies. And when eating carbs at least make them complex carbs rather than simple carbs.
  9. Thanks for all the great replies. I have so many questions now. I really need help since I honestly don't know how to cook! If there are some good websites that answer some of these questions, I can look at those too.

    I am a 5'1" and 125lbs.

    What are the healthiest fish? How many ounces is a good serving? What is the best/healthiest way to cook - bake?

    What vegetables do you recommend? I like carrots, cucumber, red pepper, asparagus. I don't like corn or tomatoes. What are some other good ones to eat at dinner? And what is the best way to cook them? (for ones that I might want cooked) I do not have a grill…so baking is probably the easiest for me.

    How do you feel about frozen veggies? (no sauces, just plain frozen ones to then defrost a cup or so at a time)

    What is the healthiest way to cook steel cut oatmeal? (what to add in it?) Would that be a good breakfast substitute? Then yogurt at work (I get so hungry in the mornings…I am going to stick to Dannon for now, though, since I can barely tolerate that. I don't think Greek is for me!)

    I actually really do like egg whites (hardboiled mostly), but figure I can probably make omelets. What are the best things to add to it? It always seems like mushrooms, but I can't eat those.
  10. Fish: I eat Starkist lemon pepper tuna in the pouch. 1/2 pouch per serving. I don't cook fish cuz it stinks up the house.

    Raw veggies: Add celery if you can. Any salad in a bag is good. I love dark kidney beans on a salad. Very filling.

    Cooked veggies: Frozen is ok. French style green beans with a small pat of butter are my favorite. Cauliflower in the food processor with milk and a little honey mustard is delicious - tastes like mashed potatoes. Fresh spinach boiled with frozen onions and a little seasoned salt is awesome and makes you feel really good.

    Omelettes: I like faux krab, green pepper or jalapeno, scallion, celery, ham. I like mushroom and tomato but you don't. Broccoli would be good, carrots, fresh spinach, probably a lot of other veggies would be good. It's fun to experiment. You only need a few ingredients at a time. I add a little cheese (cheddar or mozzerella) or sometimes sprinkle feta or gorgonzola on top. Sometimes I add light sour cream or walnuts but only if it needs it, otherwise skip the calories.

    Oatmeal: old fashioned oats are ok, tons of recipes in the Kitchen forum. For steel cut oats I use McCann's 5 minute Irish Oatmeal and add milk, banana, nutrasweet, frozen blueberries.

    Once you understand how food works, you can get creative at combining healthy foods you love. I read the South Beach Diet book to figure it out.

    There are a lot more ideas in the Kitchen forum.
  11. Just as a second opinion about the yogurt - I don't like regular yogurt but I can tolerate Greek yogurt. It has a completely different taste than regular yogurt. Personally I think regular yogurt kind of has a sour taste to it and Greek yogurt is sweeter. You might try buying just a single serving of some sort of Greek yogurt to test it out. I eat the Brown Cow brand, and have tried Yoplait and even between the two brands they don't taste the same.
  12. Almost all fish is good for you, it will just depend on what you like and what is available in your area. You may want to buy a grill pan-that is an easy way to cook fish and chicken.
    For other vegetable options, I like sauteed spinach, kale salad, vegetables roasted with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
    Eggs and yogurt are great for breakfast but it can get boring. I sometimes have "non-breakfast" foods like cold cuts, smoked salmon, or even leftovers from the night before. I keep a few lower calorie protein bars around for busy days and emergencies. They are a better option than things like muffins.
  13. What are the healthiest fish? How many ounces is a good serving? What is the best/healthiest way to cook - bake?

    Not sure what the healthiest is, but it's very easy to bake salmon, cod, bass, hake, flounder... You can broil or bake them. I like to saute garlic bits, butter, onions and a bit of panko for a topping. The most important thing in your diet is to use spices and flavor it in a way that you can enjoy your food.

    What vegetables do you recommend? I like carrots, cucumber, red pepper, asparagus. I don't like corn or tomatoes. What are some other good ones to eat at dinner? And what is the best way to cook them? (for ones that I might want cooked) I do not have a grill…so baking is probably the easiest for me. How do you feel about frozen veggies? (no sauces, just plain frozen ones to then defrost a cup or so at a time)

    I eat my protein with a side salad. Leafy greens, avocado, cheese, sauteed mushrooms, a little corn or sometimes leftover crab. I only use light balsamic vinaigrette dressing -- no ranch for me. You can also boil veggies like cauliflower and broccoli to get your carbs in. I can't seem to eat veggies without cheese (hate the taste), so I get the frozen kind where you microwave it for 5 minutes.

    I actually really do like egg whites (hardboiled mostly), but figure I can probably make omelets. What are the best things to add to it? It always seems like mushrooms, but I can't eat those.

    I make my omelettes and sunny side up eggs with one egg yolk and 3 egg whites. You still get the same taste but without all the cholesterol.
  14. Just a suggestion. I don't know if you mean cardio by exercise, but you may also try adding some resistance training to build lean muscles too. As they say, muscle burns fat and even if you are no longer exercising, that muscle you have built/building will still be burning fat. Or maybe the 5 pounds that you got came from muscle mass (if you are already doing some resistance training)? Muscle is denser than fat, isn't it?

    And a big yes to vegetables. Lots of vitamins and minerals that you will never get in those snacks. And cut the sweets too. Hope everything goes well!
  15. Peronsally, I think frozen veggies are fine--they're practically just as healthy, and have that whole fiber, make you full, low calory thing like fresh veggies do. Maybe get a mix of frozen carrots, peas, and green beans? When I was short on time back in undergraduate, I would just take a bowl of it, put a small bit of water in it, a pinch of salt, and dried/powdered garlic, and microwave for a little bit, and it was a good, quick way to get veggies for my lunch and/or dinner.

    As for fish, for less fatty fish, there are white fishes like mahi mahi. Salmon and tuna are higher in fat, but they are good fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna canned in water is always a quick means of fish protein (but be careful of eating tuna--it's very high in mercury). I always find baking with a squeeze of lemon is the fastest and healthiest way of cooking fish (I do the same with chicken breasts as well).

    You can put your red peppers and carrots and even asparagus that you like in your omelets! I personally love egg whites, too, and I just hard-boil eggs and grab for the egg whites when I need some quick protein. I also love just making some miso soup and poaching a couple egg whites in it (in the microwave, even, when I'm short on time).

    For steel cut oatmeal, I'd add in maybe the smallest handful of either almonds or walnuts (both high in good fats and fiber), maybe some fresh fruit (like your banana, or if you like blueberries, or maybe even dried fruit like prunes? Be careful of your portion sizes, though).

    Do you like spinach? I grew up eating stir-fry spinach... all you do is put the smallest drop of oil vegetable or olive oil in the pan, brown a little bit of garlic, toss the spinach in (not baby spinach--I only use baby spinach for salads), add a pinch of salt, add some hot water (maybe 1/4 cup? It depends on how much you're making), cover it for a little (not too long, otherwise it gets mushy and gross), and then uncover in the last minute and voila. I wish I had measurements for you, so it might take a little bit of experimenting the get the right amount of water and the right amount of cooking time, but it's a quick and easy to way that's really healthy to cook most vegetables. I do that with broccoli, napa cabbage, spinach, asparagus... and you can add whatever spices (ground pepper, paprika, cayenne, even curry powder!, etc.) or herbs (I just reach for my dried basil or oregano sometimes) to get a different taste to them.