Project 4:  Evaluate your Energy Balance and 3-Day Diet                         

Project 4:  Evaluate your Energy Balance and 3-Day Diet          

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Part 1: Energy Balance – Instructions: Assess your physical activity levels and calculate your estimated energy requirement.  Discuss your energy needs, especially in regards to energy expenditure.  Assess your typical eating habits and life style behaviors linked with aiming for and maintaining a healthy weight.

Report to save, use and submit to the ANGEL drop box along with this document:

Nutrients Report—choose the date range of the 3 days you entered into SuperTracker (1 report)

Note: The SuperTracker reports refer to your intake of food in Calories. In common media sources, books, and websites, oftentimes the term Calories is used.  In nutrition and in our textbook we are really referring to a kilocalorie when quantifying caloric intake.  In this course please use the terms Calories and kilocalories synonymously. (You may also see the use of “kcalorie”, this is simply an abbreviation of kilocalorie.)

 Guidelines and Recommendations

  • Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from food and beverages.
  • Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
  • Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or equivalent combination of the two.
  • Adults should include muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
  1. Assess your physical activity.

Read the activity recommendations above.  Although you did not record your activity level for this project, describe your weekly activities to justify whether or not you meet these recommendations.

What types of activities do you see yourself doing regularly during the next 10 years to maintain a physically active lifestyle?

  1. Calculate your Estimated Energy Requirement (aka Total Energy Expenditure—TEE). This equation accounts for energy needs from Basal Metabolic Rate, Physical Activity, and Dietary Thermogenesis.  Insert your personal variables.

Do steps 1-4 to calculate your EER.  Read p. 240 for more guidance.


Your weight:         lbs               Your height:      ft,       inches =       inches


Step #1 Convert weight to kilograms (kg):

2.2 lb = 1 kg, therefore:         lb ÷ 2.2 lb/kg =       kg


Step #2 Convert height to meters (m):

39.37 inch = 1 m, therefore:        inches ÷ 39.37 in/m =        m


Step #3 Place an “x” next to your Physical Activity (PA) Factor below:

Men PA Factor Women PA Factor Daily Physical Activity
 Sedentary 1.00 1.00 Typical daily living activities
 Low Active 1.11 1.12 Plus 30-60 min moderate* activity daily
 Active 1.25 1.27 Plus ≥ 60 min moderate activity daily
 Very Active 1.48 1.45 Plus ≥ 60 min moderate and vigorous or 120 min moderate activity daily

* Moderate activity is equivalent to walking at 3 to 4.5 mph.

Step #4 Insert variables into equation and solve:  (age in years, height in meters, and weight in kilograms)

For men:  EER = [662 – (9.53 x age)] + PA x [(15.91 x wt) + (539.6 x ht)]

For women:  EER = [354 – (6.91 x age)] + PA x [(9.36 x wt) + (726 x ht)]

Show the equation with your variables inserted  

For men:  EER = [662 – (9.53 x     )] +      x [(15.91 x     ) + (539.6 x     )]

For women:  EER = [354 – (6.91 x     )] +      x [(9.36 x     ) + (726 x     )]

Now solve the equation.

Type your EER here:       kilocalories/day

  1. Summarize and discuss your results: Insert your calculated EER value below (kilocalories=kcalories) from step #4 above. Insert your actual energy (caloric) intake for day 1, 2, and 3* individually, and then enter your 3-day average caloric intake. **
Your calculated EER (from above)

(= energy need)




Your actual energy intake

(= energy intake)

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 3-day Average
      kcalories       kcalories  





*Report: Food Details: view each day’s individually for the kilocalories you consumed daily for the 3-day period. **Report: Nutrients: enter the date range to include all 3 days you entered, view average kilocalories eaten and enter in the 3-day average box (or you can simply calculate the average)

Critical Thinking Exercise:

Estimating energy needs (EER) and actual energy intake both have limitations in terms of accuracy.  List possible sources of error for estimates of both calculated energy needs (EER) and actual energy intake (food log kcalories from SuperTracker).

REFLECT ON YOUR ENERGY BALANCE: Type a minimum 200 word paragraph below in response to the questions.  Fully answer all questions to receive full credit.

Compare the difference between your calculated energy needs (EER) and your actual average caloric intake from your diet records.  Based on the discrepancy between these two numbers, should you be gaining, losing or maintaining your weight?  During the last few months, have you been gaining, losing or maintaining your weight, as might be expected?  Comment on whether these three days are typical for you, and what eating habits might be in error or missing on your food logs.

Continue to next page….

  1. Assess your typical food choices, eating habits, and lifestyle behaviors linked with aiming for and maintaining a healthy weight. Below are some healthful actions linked with weight gainers, losers, and maintainers.  Complete this checklist to assess your typical food choices and eating or lifestyle patterns.  Consider your usual habits, not just your 3-day analysis.  Then answer #6 below.
  Frequency per week
Rarely Sometimes Frequently
Food choices and eating patterns likely to promote weight gain:
Drink a lot of juice
Drink sugar sweetened beverages or soda
Eat fried foods (French fries, breaded chicken, etc.)
Eat large portions
Eat high fat or high added sugar snacks between meals (ex. peanut butter crackers, donuts, cookies, chips)
Eat three or more large meals a day
Eat mindlessly in response to stress
Skip breakfast
Order largest portions of fast-food meals
Eat until you are very full or “stuffed”
Food choices and lifestyle habits likely to promote weight loss or weight maintenance:
Consume regular meals
Drink water or zero calorie beverages
Drink/eat low-fat or fat-free dairy foods
Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables each day
Eat slowly
Eat small portions, and take seconds only if you are still hungry
Eat small amounts of margarine, butter or mayonnaise on foods
Limit snacks to healthful choices
Select low-fat varieties of food
Share a restaurant meal or take home leftovers
Feel a bit hungry before major meals
Stop eating when you feel satisfied
Eat breakfast regularly
Trim the fat off meat or buy lean meats
Participate in physical activity at least 30 minutes/day above typical routines


  1. Most Americans need to reduce habits which promote weight gain and increase habits which promote weight maintenance or weight loss. Based on what you found by completing the checklist above, list two goals for yourself over the next two months to improve your eating habits so you will more likely aim for or maintain a healthy weight.  In 100-200 words, list the two goals you set and discuss barriers to these goals along with ways you can sustain these habits. (Type your response here):

Part 2:  Evaluate your 3-Day Diet – Instructions: Compare your 3-day diet to MyPlate Food Group guidelines. Evaluate the protein and micronutrient content of your diet.

Reports to save, use and submit to the ANGEL drop box along with this document:

Food Groups and Calories—all 3 days combined (1 report)

Nutrients Report—all 3 days combined (1 report)

Meal Summary—all 3 days combined (1 report)

Guidelines and Recommendations

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
  • Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas. Select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables such as tomatoes) several times a week.
  • Consume 3 cups per day of nonfat or low-fat or equivalent dairy foods.
  • Choose foods that provide more potassium, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets.
  • Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg.


  1. Compare your food intake to “My Plate” food group goals.

 Report to use: Food Groups and Calories, enter date range to include the 3 days you entered. In the table below enter the target for each group, the actual average eaten, and the status (OK, over, or under)


Food Groups Target Average eaten Status
Grains Group      
Vegetable Group      
Fruit Group      
Dairy* 3 cup equivalents    
Protein Foods      
Empty Calories      

*Young adults should eat 3 servings per day from the dairy group.

  1. List up to three vegetables for each of the five subgroups you consumed during your 3 days. Put “none” if you ate no vegetables in that subgroup.

        Report to use: Food Groups and Calories, enter date range that will include all 3 days you entered. You can expand the vegetable subgroups to view the foods you ate in these groups.


Dark green

Red and orange

Legumes (beans and peas)

Starchy vegetables

Other (ex., cauliflower)

  1. Did you consume the dairy target?  If yes, list 2 dairy food sources that you included in your diet. If no, list 2 nonfat or low fat dairy products that you like and could add to your weekly food intake. If you get your calcium and vitamin D from other sources, mention them and why you avoid dairy foods
  2. In several sentences, discuss how well your actual intake met the goals of MyPlate? For each food group (except dairy) in which you did not meet the target, identify nutrients that may be low in your diet by referring to Table 1 below.  For each group that is low, list 2 foods which you like and could be added to your eating routine.

Table 1: The Nutrients of the MyPlate food groups. 

MyPlate is designed to meet all essential nutrients.  Each food group provides some, but not all, of these nutrients. Foods in one group cannot replace those in another.  The table below indicates the nutrients provided in significant quantities in each food group.  If your diet is low in a specific group, it may be low in some of the indicated nutrients.  Look across groups to make sure a nutrient you think may be low is actually rich in another group.


Food Group Nutrients rich in this food group
Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta. and other Grains Group


Riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, iron, protein; fiber is rich in whole grain products.

Vegetables Group

Highly pigmented vegetables (green, red, orange and yellow) are especially rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium, fiber; some dark green leafy vegetables are rich in iron.


Fruits Group


Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber


Calcium, riboflavin, protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin A
Protein Foods Meat and fish have protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc, iron, niacin and thiamin; legumes have protein, fiber, folate, vitamin E, potassium, iron and zinc.


Vegetable oils


Vitamin E (also called alpha-T)


  1. Assess your diet for protein, vitamin, and mineral adequacy.

        Report to use: Nutrients Report—enter date range of the 3 days you entered into SuperTracker. Use this report to fill in the blanks in the table below. It is important to read the footnotes in order to complete this table properly.











(OK, over,

Or  Under)


List two foods rich in each nutrienta

Protein (g)




Vitamin B6


Folate (ug)


Vitamin C (mg)        
Vitamin D (ug) 5 ugb      
Vitamin A

(ug, RAE)

Vitamin E

(mg AT)



Iron (mg)


Zinc (mg)



Note:  ug = micrograms, mg=milligrams

a If your status is OK or OVER: list 2 foods that you ate during your 3-day analysis that are considered rich sources of the nutrient. If your status is UNDER: list 2 foods that are good sources of the nutrient that you would eat to improve your intake.


b The DRI for vitamin D is 15ug, which assumes no contribution of sun for synthesis of Vitamin D.  We are assuming you need to consume ~5ug of vitamin D from food for this project and the rest comes from sun exposure. Thus, use 5ug as the DRI and state whether you are OK, over, or under based on using 5ug as the target.

Continue on to the next page….

  1. REFLECT ON YOUR DIET: Answer each of the following questions in thoughtful sentences. Base your responses on what you found in the table above.
  2. Comment as to whether you did or could fulfill your nutrient needs through foods. Comment as to whether you routinely consume vitamin/mineral supplements.  If you think it is necessary to take a supplement, explain why you are not able to meet your needs with foods
  3. Discuss the adequacy of your protein intake. If you are getting too little protein, list two protein-rich foods you could add to your diet.  If you met the protein RDA, view your 3-day analysis, and identify two foods of high quality protein that you ate and 2 foods of lower quality protein that you ate. (It may be helpful to review class notes and textbook on the topic of protein quality)
  4. Evaluate the sodium and potassium content of your diet. List your average nutrient intakes and status for sodium and potassium in the table below. Report to use: Nutrients Report


Nutrient Average Eaten  Status: OK, Over or Under
Sodium (mg) (goal:  < 2300 mg)*    
Potassium (mg) (goal: >4700 mg)    


*This goal is used for persons not at risk for hypertension. If you have high blood pressure or at risk for hypertension, use 1,500 mg/day as your goal.


  1. In the table below identify three food sources in your diet that are contributing the highest amounts of sodium to your diet and identify three appropriate lower sodium substitutions. Please read the footnotes below to best complete the table.
High sodium food sourcesa mg of sodium per servingb Similar, lower sodium substitute for high sodium foodc mg of sodium

per serving



a  Use the Nutrients report, and click on the “+” next to sodium and the list of foods you consumed highest in sodium will appear.

b  Use the Food Details Report, under nutrients heading, only select sodium to identify the milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving for each of the food items you listed.

c  An appropriate substitution is one that contains at least 25% less sodium than your original choice and is in the same food group or contains roughly the same nutritional quality. You can use the Food-a-Pedia feature in Super Tracker to compare to similar food items and their sodium content:    (For example, a pork chop would be an appropriate substitute for ham. Two slices of toast would not be an appropriate substitution as it is not in the same food group and provides a different nutrient profile to our diet.)  You can also use the appendix in the back of the book for ideas of lower sodium substitutes.


  1. Are you meeting the recommended intake for potassium (>4700mg/day)?    YES   NO


If yes, answer “a” below; If no, answer “b” below.


  1. You answered “yes”. Identify two food sources you are consuming that are rich in potassium.

(Hint: click on the “+” in front of Potassium on the Nutrients Report.)

  1.  You answered “no”. List two foods that you will try to consume to improve your potassium intake.
  2. Briefly discuss why Americans are encouraged to aim for recommended levels of sodium and potassium in their diets. We have not covered sodium and potassium yet so you can read pages 379-380, and 383 to describe the health implications. Type your response here in 100-200 words.

Remember to submit the following 3 reports along with this document into the ANGEL Drop Box (total of 4 files—this document and 3 reports):

Food Groups and Calories—all 3 days combined; enter date range of the 3 days you entered into Super Tracker (1 report)

Nutrients Report—all 3 days combined; enter date range of the 3 days you entered into SuperTracker (1 report)

Meal Summary—all 3 days combined; enter date range of the 3 days you entered into SuperTracker (1 report)

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