I keep a food diary using The Daily Plate at Livestrong.com. Yes, I know that’s a dieter’s trick, but that’s not why I started. When I began my serious race training, I wanted to understand what I was eating and why. Was I getting enough protein? What was my carb/fat/protein ratio?
But it’s also made me more aware of the differences between home cooking and eating out. There are plenty of “good” eating out options – for under 500 calories I can get a soup, salad and apple at Panera or a vegetarian burrito bowl at Chipotle – but what about that burger at Chili’s? Or that pizza?
The fact of the matter is that there’s almost nothing that I can make at home – including my lasagna – that can hold a fat, caloric and sodium-laden candle to what’s served at most restaurants.
Does that mean that I never eat out? Oh, hell no! I usually go out for three lunches a week (or I did before I broke my foot). Do I only order low-cal salads with no dressing? No way! But I do try to limit myself to only half of whatever is served to me. Not only is it better for me, nutrition-wise, but it’s also a good way to prevent that horrible, overstuffed feeling that comes from enormous restaurant portions. I also try to be mindful of my protein/carb balance, and how that might affect tomorrow’s workout. Some days I’m pretty good at it. Others… well, there’s a reason why I carefully selected this particular nutrition graph.
Athletes, how do you track your nutrition?