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BITHOO SparkPoints: (12,355)
Fitness Minutes: (3,359)
Posts: 423
8/21/13 7:49 A

Well, it doesn't make much sense to make a full-scale dinner for one person if the food can't really be saved until tomorrow... but other than that, yes, you're right: it's all about attention to detail.

This is actually really helpful insight for me: I have been good about tracking and exercise, but there is always something I forgot to track, didn't measure carefully, didn't time properly, etc. So I'm sure I'm ALWAYS off by a hundred calories or so in the course of a day.

Do you measure things like tablespoons of hummus, or precise fractions of recipes? I find that I may make a recipe which is usually about 4-5 servings, and then serve myself a "usual" amount and call it a serving... but it's all pretty loosey goosey.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
8/21/13 1:46 A

Neither of those excuses is really adequate.

If hubby doesn't feel like dinner he doesn't have to have any - you can still have what you planned for YOU though. As for what's left in the fridge - check before you preplan it! :)

BITHOO SparkPoints: (12,355)
Fitness Minutes: (3,359)
Posts: 423
8/20/13 9:55 P

wow - these are great insights!

I have tried tracking in advance, but "something" always seems to get in the way... things like "I planned a frittata and salad for dinner for me and hubby, but then hubby came home feeling lousy and didn't want dinner." or... "was going to have the turkey on rye for lunch, but then found I only had a single slice of turkey left in the container, so ate that and then added a couple slices of cheese."

Same with exercise: all set to go to exercise class before starting work (I work at home), only to have an email sent at 7 p.m. telling me "we've just scheduled a meeting for 8:30 a.m., sure hope you can be there!"

I know these all sound awfully "excusey," yet they're for real... perhaps it's more about staying focused on the details?

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,272)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,790
8/12/13 9:29 A

I encourage you to focus on getting daily a MINIMUM:
8 servings veggies
3oz animal protein (unbreaded)
3g healthy omega 3 fat

NIRERIN Posts: 14,297
8/11/13 12:25 P

one other thing you may want to do is average your calories, fat, carbs and protein out over the week, then look at those averages rather than the everyday. because being 100 cals or so under one day and then 100 cals or so over the next day can average out. if you're looking at 500+ cals under a day you will likely have some issues, but being a little under now and again is something you can work around.
going back the first day you seem to not get enough protein was the 9th. you didn't log dinner, which is likely a large part of the problem. for your lunch, if you were to have one slice of cheese, that would save 70 cals. and if you were to have another serving of turkey that would be another 60 cals and 9 grams protein. so you'd save ten cals and get 4 more grams of protein while eating 3 g less fat.
the 7th was the next day you had under 60 g protein. a serving of meat is 3-4 oz. you only has 2oz with lunch. so having a full serving of protein instead of a partial would have gotten you to the 60 g. also, the rice crackers. while they might be a nice munching option, you can find a bread type product that has more protein. the bagels i buy have 220 cals, 1.5 g fat, and 9 g protein, so if you had had half of one of those instead you would have has the same calories but 1 g less fat and 2.5 g more protein. a slice of ezekial bread is 80 cals and 4 g protein with only a half gram of fat. and i am sure there are a ton more options for what to have your bread and cheese on that are the same or a little lower in cals, the same or a little lower in fat and a little higher in protein. keeping any one of those on hand for that purpose should give you the little boost and cut you need to be in line.
then we move on to the 6th. you seem to drink a lot of milk. would switching down to a lower percentage work for you to help get your fat down and protein up? and perhaps try to have alcohol or starbucks, not both in the same day. having one or the other would free up about 200 cals to be used for protein or to keep you in your ranges. if you like those apple sausages perhaps try to find a meal to have them with that is otherwise low to no fat. perhaps some broccoli or kale with barley? or maybe use the sausage to make a stew type dish that has lentils and lots of veggies in it.
on the 5th instead of having a granola bar, have a half ounce of almonds [90 cals, 7 g fat and 3 g protein]. for your chicken breast at lunch, again remember to have at least a full serving of protein and you'll get closer to your goals. and do look at other bread options. again, you can get the same or more protein for the same or less calories. your hummus and crackers dinner just isn't cutting it. it's 313 cals for 8 g protein. if you like hummus and crackers, by all means have them. but try and have a Tablespoon of hummus with a half serving of those crackers. but for a dinner you could do a flatbread [most i have seen will come in under 220 cals and at or over 4 g protein], spread with a Tablespoon or two of hummus and filled with vegetables and that will likely be a little more filling than your hummus and cracker dinner. the broccoli that you use fresh would be a great addition.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
8/11/13 10:04 A

Simple solution. Pre-track, and get all your ranges correct, and then just eat what is on your tracker.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
8/11/13 8:33 A

Yup. Low-fat cottage cheese is my "go-to" protein boost when I have few calories to work with. 1/3 of a cup is around 50 cals and 8-9 grams of protein. Then just add a little of your fruit to it. Or you could do 1/3 cup Greek yogurt for 50 cals and add some fruit.

A 1/3 cup of egg whites for an omelette with veg can run about 50-100 cals and 9-10g of protein. I'm not against eating the yolk but when you have few calories to work with and need the protein boost.

Tuna (skip jack) to a portabella mushroom with some parmesan cheese, tomato, onion, etc. around 100 cals and around 20g of protein.

Add some legumes to your salad. I always add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of black beans to my salads.

ETA: Looking at your nutrition tracker you're pretty dang close to getting adequate protein. Just some mild tweaking should do it. Personally, I would cut back on some of your unnecessary carbs and replace them with protein. For example; drinks, granola bars, chips, flavoured yogurt, etc. maybe choose to have 1 or 2 of these things per day and replace your saved calories with more protein.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/11/2013 (08:50)
CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
8/11/13 6:51 A

I like the solution Unident presented.

Tracking in advance lets you make adjustments beforehand, and see where things need to be added/subtracted

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (253,455)
Fitness Minutes: (41,531)
Posts: 27,134
8/11/13 4:00 A

Cottage Cheese is low fat, low calorie, but good protein.

Can you slightly reduce something else (perhaps a little fat or processed carbs) .and increase a lean meat, or have a boiled egg or hummus? Have you looked at your bread if you use it, and gone for one that is higher protein/fibre and lower fats/carbs and sodium? By getting lower fat, odds are the calories will be lower, too. Have you compared protein content between fruits and veges?


UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
8/11/13 1:12 A

How long have you been at this? You don't have to be perfect right away. :)

Try pre-entering a day first. If you enter tomorrow tonight while Sparking, you can see if you will have a gap for some cherries, and you can experiment and find out exactly how many cherries is still going to keep you in-goal for the day. Then you'll know when you come to eat them that those (say) 5 cherries are totally fine and not going to put you over!

As you've noted, protein foods tend to also be higher in calories. You can't get much protein without getting a big old fat boost too, which ups your calories.

You can try bean and legume protein sources, which are very low in fat.

But also you can try just getting more protein the rest of the time so you don't have this gap you're trying to fill with something. Eg if you have 120g of meat at a meal, have 140 and see what that does to your protein for the day. You may not have a gap to fill after all.

I definitely think sitting down and pre-planning your day the night before will help you.

ALIUSIA SparkPoints: (5,654)
Fitness Minutes: (1,595)
Posts: 277
8/11/13 1:10 A

I feel ya, my problem is that I can't get up to my calorie range. I've been tracking everyday and have been staying around 750-840 calories a day including drinks. I've been trying to get my protein level up as well as potassium. My weight hasn't budged in a month and it won't until I get my calorie intake up. I've been pushing myself to eat breakfast and I think it's starting to help. My medication makes it so I'm never hungry until around 4pm and if I try to eat befor then it makes me nauseas.
Have you tried hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, whole wheat crackers (triskets), or hummus. Just a few ideas...sorry I don't have more.

BITHOO SparkPoints: (12,355)
Fitness Minutes: (3,359)
Posts: 423
8/10/13 10:22 P

I've been tracking religiously, and keep endeavoring to stay on top of the calories and nutrients. But ALMOST every day, if I'm good on the calories I'm low on the protein... if I'm good on the protein, I'm about 50 or 60 calories above my goal...

A lot of this is that when I've had my dinner, and it's late evening, I like something to munch. I usually have about 100 calories left, so I'll say "yay, I'll have some cherries!" Then I eat a handful too many cherries and bang! over the top. Outside of fruit, my other evening downfall is olives: good for you, not terribly caloric, but eat enough and you go just those few calories over the top.

I guess I just let down my guard at 9 p.m. -- I want to munch, I'm making healthy choices, but I'm just slightly too lenient on myself. Not a lot, but enough.

Meanwhile, if I'm low on protein, I can't think of ANYTHING I can eat for just a few dozen calories that feels like munchies but adds protein. A cheese stick is gone in a minute; nuts have too many calories,,,, so I don't snack, but I don't meet my goals either.

So dumb, but it's driving me crazy -- doing everything right, even the choice of foods, but still not meeting my goals.

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