It’s January and many of us are thinking about eating healthy and getting more exercise. New Year, new opportunity to do something good for ourselves.
There is a wonderful, free resource that can be used in your pursuit to get healthy. It was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is called the Super Tracker. The Super Tracker can be accessed on the Internet at www.choosemyplate.gov.
Once on the tracker you will create your own profile by entering information about yourself such as age, height, weight, etc. You will register your data and then view a personal plan. Your personal plan calculates a calorie goal and a goal for the four food groups. Once this has been developed you may begin tracking your food intake and your daily physical activity.
The food tracker helps you keep your calorie goals in line, helps you reach your food group daily targets and tracks your “daily limits.” The daily limits include empty calories, oils, saturated fat and sodium. After entering the foods that you ate throughout the day, the charts begin to fill in as your calorie allowance dwindles. To make it easier, you can save a list of favorite foods, or those that you tend to eat over and over.
When searching for a food in the database, you won’t always find an exact match. You might have to choose the closest option. Compare what you find in the tracker with the nutrition label on the package. After selecting the item from the list you can click on the nutrient information tab and make the comparison. This could be aggravating but with persistence, you will locate a close match.
Don’t forget to log your physical activity. You will select the exercise activity and the number of minutes you spent doing it.
Now, for my absolute favorite part, the “My Reports Section.” I like to use the Nutrient Report. Simply put in a report date range. It could be today, last week or the month. When you create the report it tracks your consumption of nutrients like cholesterol, minerals and vitamins. The daily goal for each is listed and the average amount that you ate is reported. If you are not sure why getting enough Selenium is important, the report will tell you. Simply click on the plus sign and you can see what foods you have eaten that have Selenium, suggestions for what to eat to get Selenium and the importance of the mineral Selenium. This is a wonderful report for anyone with specific health needs or goals.
I invite you to try the Super Tracker. What do you have to lose? A few pounds?
For more information, Debbie Stephenson may be reached at the N.C. Cooperative Extension by calling 910-893-7530.