Diet analysis is a multistep process.
1. Determine actual food intake.
2. Translate food intake into nutrient intake. (and/or compare actual foods with Food Group recommendations in My Plate)
3. Compare intake to standards.
4. Find areas for improvement.
Step 2 and 3
Compare to Standards
Step 1 – Diet Diary
Step 1: Three Day Diet Diary = Food Intake
1. Keep track of three consecutive days of food consumption, including one weekend day.
2. Do not wait until the end of the day to try to remember what you ate. Write everything down throughout the day.
3. Use the worksheet provided or make your own.
4. Keep track of all food, condiments, beverages, candy, etc. AND how much you consumed.
5. Beverages (including water) must be listed in fluid ounces. There are 8 fluid oz. in one cup. You will need to total up your beverage intake for each day and get the three-day average. You will compare that to the recommended intake of 48-64 fluid oz. per day. Of course, there is fluid in the food you consume, but that is not included in this recommendation.
6. Keep careful track of portion sizes. Most people greatly underestimate the amount of food they eat. They simply eat a “bowl” of cereal and call it “one cup” of cereal….most cereal bowls are at least 2 cups! 2-3 oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards. By the way: “bowl” or “serving” are not portion sizes. You need to use the correct measures: cups, ounces (for meat), fluid ounces (beverages), tablespoons, etc.
7. Combination foods must be broken down into each part.
For example, a small salad becomes: 2 cups iceberg lettuce 2 T shredded carrots 1/4 cup cucumbers 1/4 cup croutons 2 T ranch dressing
8. In addition to the food item and amount, also list the time of day and why you ate. For example, “I was hungry” or “I was not really hungry but there was cake at the party”.
9. You will need to provide all three days in your final submission.
Step 2: Compare your diet to MyPlate
1. Go to
2. Go to Choose My Plate and scroll down. Select “Get Your My Plate Plan, Learn More”:
3. Scroll down. Select “Get Your My Plate Plan” to configure your personalized goals.
4. Enter your information in the profile section; this is how you will get your personalized plan.
5. Choose your calorie calculation based on achieving or maintaining healthy weight to determine your My Plate Plan:
6. Completely fill out the 2nd page of the worksheet based on the most typical day of your 3-day diet diary.
– Include your food intake for one entire day, put each food in the correct food group.
– Mark whether you met your target for all sections.
– In the “My Wins” section, indicate one improvement you could make.
– Be sure to include both print outs in your final assignment.
For this assignment, you should fill out the worksheet to calculate your energy needs using the Mifflin St. Joer equation. This equation is used in clinical practice often. This equation gives you the estimate for “Resting Energy Requirements”, therefore you need to add an Activity Factor to consider physical activity.
There are many ways to estimate energy and protein needs. Each time you use a program such as MyPlate or MyFitnessPal, your needs are calculated behind the scenes using an equation.
Step 3: Energy and Protein Needs Worksheet
Be sure to change pounds to kg and inches to cm!!
Step 3: Energy and Protein Needs Worksheet, continued…
Protein needs can also be calculated in different ways. Cronometer uses the recommendation of 20% of total kcals. In this worksheet you will use the “by weight” equation for normal health adults of .8 grams protein/kg body weight.
Fill in the table at the bottom of the worksheet and compare the different recommendations for you. If they are significantly different, be sure to discuss this in your written analysis.
Be sure to submit the Energy and Protein Needs Worksheet with your final assignment.
Step 4: Nutrient Reports. Food > Nutrients!
1. Once your three day diet diary is complete you can enter it into the cronometer website.
2. Register and write down your password so that you can access the information anytime.
3. Input your profile and weight information. The targets for nutrients and kcals is based on this profile information.
The “homepage” after you enter your profile looks like this:
Be sure you have the date correct here
Begin to enter the foods for day 1. If you are having trouble finding a food, be specific. For example: enter “Honey Nut Cheerios” not “Cereal”
4. Next “Add Serving” for the food item. This is when the accuracy in your diet diary really helps! Repeat for all foods for day 1.
5. Once all food items have been entered for day 1, mark the day as complete.
6. Repeat for day 2 and 3. Don’t forget to change the date!!
7. Print the averages for the three days:
Click “Trends” > “Nutrition Report”
Change drop down on right to “Non-Empty Days”
The result should be averages of the three days that you entered.
Download this report for your submission in your final project.
The amount of kcals you need in a day based on the profile you entered. Height, weight, age, gender and activity level are all considered.
The average amount of kcals you consumed over the three days. Only as accurate as the accuracy of the foods you entered. For example if you only put in 300 kcals for a day, it will bring your numbers way down. You are likely eating more than that!
The percentage of target goals for each macro-nutrient. In this example, based on the profile entered the target for protein was 93 grams/day, the diet diary averaged 97.7 grams/day therefore the person on average consumed 105% of their needs/target (the target for protein is set at 20% of the kcals from protein in cronometer).
Average intakes for each micronutrient are listed. In this example only 67% of the DRIs for Iron were consumed on average over the three days. This is low and should be discussed in the written report. Generally any nutrient consumed in amounts less than 90% or above 110% should be discussed.
This is what the Nutrition Report looks like (do not pay for the Full Report).
Step 5: Nutrient Source Worksheet
Where are the nutrients in your diet? The report tells you that on average over the three days you consumed 328 micrograms of Folate. But it doesn’t tell you which foods provided the Folate.
Use the nutrient report worksheet to list two foods that provided high levels of each of the nutrients over the three days.
Step 6: Written Analysis
This is where you examine the report and describe what you have learned.
Base your answers on all the information you have collected.
Be very specific on the things you would add/delete or change in your diet to improve specific nutrient intake.
The analysis should be a minimum of two pages and include the answers for all of the questions listed on the assignment.
Submit this paper with your final assignment.
You will need to turn in your assignment electronically. Send as e-mail attachments to (word documents or .pdf)
Three day diet diary
MyPlate worksheets with page two filled out
Energy and Protein Worksheet
Three day average cronometer nutrient report
Nutrient source worksheet
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