Now that you have compared what you should be eating with what you actually are eating, you can start making changes to improve the nutritional quality of your diet. By taking a critical look at your food record, you have identified where you should make adjustments in your eating. You may have found that you need to increase or decrease servings from the various food groups. For example, you may be consuming too many ounces of meat and not enough cups of vegetables. If so, you need to increase your vegetable intake and decrease your meat intake.
To help maintain an appropriate intake of calories, it is important that when adding food to your meal plan, you take something else away, assuming you are now eating enough. For example, if you need to increase your fruit and milk intake but are on target with the other food groups, you will need to look at your intake of discretionary calories. These are calories you need to maintain your weight but don't necessarily need for nutrients. Foods such as soda, potato chips, sauces, butter, and cookies can be considered sources of discretionary calories. To avoid consuming too many calories, you may need to decrease the amount you eat of foods high in fat and sugar.
I am not a fan of "fakes." In my opinion, it is preferable to consume small amounts of butter, cane sugar, and bacon than margarine, Splenda, or imitation bacon bits, even if the sugar or saturated-fat content is higher.
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