- Consider questions for exploring and assessing personal dietary intake.
Why are we doing this?
The Diet Analysis Activities in this textbook will give you the opportunity to take what you are learning about Nutrition Science and apply it in your own life. They will lead you to discover important details about the foods and beverages you consume, and encourage you to consider the impact of your nutrition choices on your personal health.
There are four key Learning Objectives that these activities are designed to help you achieve. These show what you should know, or be able to do, when you complete all of the Diet Analysis Activities. You should be able to:
- evaluate the nutrient composition of foods and beverages.
- compare personal dietary intake and physical activity with current recommendations.
- develop meal and activity plans that meet nutritional needs.
- choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages in appropriate amounts to promote health and reduce disease risk.
The main point: when we understand the importance of nutrition and healthful lifestyles, and when we know what types and amounts of nutrients our bodies need, we can make choices that help us to achieve and maintain good health. Living well begins with eating well.
These activities are meant to provide basic information and encourage exploration, not dictate specific diets or substitute for professional medical advice. Please keep your own medical and dietary situation in mind, and seek assistance from a qualified healthcare professional such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or a Doctor of Medicine to address your specific needs.
Diet and health are often challenging subjects to discuss, for many reasons. Family and cultural background, personal experiences, social influences, and individual beliefs can all contribute to these challenges. If you have concerns about evaluating your own diet, weight, activity patterns, and health status, please talk to your instructor and/or a qualified healthcare professional. Assignments may be modified or alternate assignments may be available to help you meet these learning objectives without focusing on your own personal health.
Foundations for Self Reflection
The first step in dietary assessment is to observe and collect information. Start by thinking about basic questions like the ones listed below. Try to remain objective, and avoid assigning value to specific foods and dietary patterns, such as "good" or "bad", "high" or "low". Simply notice the types of foods and beverages you choose on a typical day. Think like a scientist looking for evidence, or a detective gathering clues.
- On a typical day, when do you first take a drink or eat a bite of food?
- What types of beverages do you drink?
- Where do you eat meals or snacks?
- Do you enjoy flavors that are salty, spicy, sweet, tart, or savory?
- Are your foods colorful? What colors are the foods you eat most often?
- Do you usually eat alone or with other people?
- What temperatures are the foods and beverages you consume?
- How do you feel about various textures of foods, such as crunchy or chewy?
- Did you notice the appearance and aroma of a food before you took a bite?
- How did your body feel before eating a meal, compared to after you finished eating?