|Photo Cred- J. Zolnierz|
Every day we are allotted a "budget" of calories to spend on nutrients for the day. This, of course, changes based on body type and need, but generally speaking the US has decided that 2,000 calories per day is the average a person should consume. If we compare this idea to our financial budgets-it's very much the same thing, and yet rarely do we look at it this way. All day long we purchase items to eat, but do we have any idea how many calories we are consuming?
|Photo Cred J. Zolnierz|
Lets look at a typical day of an office working male (I observe these daily). The FDA has placed his average calorie count between 2,000 and 3,000 daily (http://www.mypyramid.gov/guidelines/PolicyDoc.pdf#page=27) We'll target him for a 2,500 day. I got my calorie counts here from http://www.caloriecounter.com/ and from http://www.livestrong.com/. Each morning starts off with coffee (8 oz cup, no cream or sugar added-9 calories) and a bagel with cream cheese (approximately 340 calories). Lunch comes around and our guy is hungry, he goes out and gets himself a sandwich-turkey (because he's being good), two slices of whole wheat bread, with cheese (because he's not THAT good) and a little mayo (give or take- 500 calories). He also munches down on some carrot sticks (~50 calories). So our jolly worker is about 1/2 way through his day and he has so far consumed upwards of 900 calories. He has been eating pretty healthily as well- going for some lean meats, skipping the donut, adding in some veggies...so far so good- he has 1,600 calories to burn.
Then 3:00 hits- he needs that afternoon coffee break and to stretch his legs a bit. He runs to a chain coffee shop and is faced with his first tough decision of the day-coffee would be better with a donut right? They look great sitting in their displays- all sugary and sweet. He goes for it. A cup of coffee (9 calories-no cream no sugar) and a glazed donut (via Dunkin' Donut's website- 260 calories).
Work finally ends, and he escapes his office to head home, and since it was a rough day, he and the missus decide to head out to eat. Craving Italian, they head to Romano's Macaroni Grill. They choose to split the Calamari Fritti (coming in at 1,210 calories for the full serving, our guy has just added 605 calories to his day). He chooses the Grill Salmon as his entree (sounds healthy right? He just tacked on another 1,090). Finally, to round out the meal, our buddy and his wife decide to end on a sweet note- and share the dessert ravioli- and they each add another 815 calories to their days. (Calorie counts found on http://eatthis.menshealth.com/)
Full day calorie count: 3,678. Over budget for the day- 1,178 calories-almost the next days calorie allotment as well.
|Photo Cred J. Zolnierz|
Reading through A Boston Food Diary you can see that this is something that I struggle with(this IS the same blog I posted about Chocolate Covered Bacon not long ago). I often run into days where I really want a sweet treat. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and with a variety of bake shops its tough to pass up. But like a balance sheet, I have to weigh the option. Clearly posted calories would absolutely help me come to the reality that that chocolate chip cookie I so desperately crave will blow my budget for the day. Just like those killer boots I've been eyeing need to be passed up.
What do you think? Do you think that clearly posted calorie counts would help us weigh our choices, or do you think that we would ignore them in favor of satisfying out urges?