You Are What You Eat

While fitness fads and diet trends grace the front covers of magazines, maintaining a healthy body weight boils down to calories in and calories out.

According to the USDA’s Beltsville study, however, most Americans (whether consciously or unconsciously) underestimate the calories they consume by about 13 percent. While this study was conducted in the ’80s, it is one of many that influenced the government’s decision to include a menu-labeling mandate for chain establishments as part of the Affordable Care Act. The goal is to educate Americans about the calories they are consuming as one small effort to reduce the obesity epidemic.

Healthy Door County 2020 is hoping to bring the menu labeling idea to our area restaurants, but the goal of reducing the obesity epidemic will require further diligence. The three tools below will help you get started in balancing the equation of calories in and calories out.

My Fitness Pal

Do you have an app for that? With My Fitness Pal, the answer is “yes.” My Fitness Pal has a handy app, as well as more than three million foods already entered in their database, which allows tracking your favorite foods – brand names included – a click of a mouse or a swipe of your finger away.

USDA Super Tracker

A highlight of this option is the “Food-A-Pedia,” which allows you to compare food items side by side. For instance, a cup of raw pineapple compared to a cup of canned pineapple in light syrup equates to 49 more calories (36 of those calories considered empty calories from added sugar) in the canned variety.

Spark People

If the idea of using an online tool is intimidating, perhaps Spark People is the place for you to start. With a quick three-minute overview video, you’ll be able to get started sooner rather than later in tracking your food and activity.

This series of articles is brought to you by Healthy Door County 2020, a collaborative community organization with representatives from for-profit, nonprofit and government sectors, aiming to make Door County Wisconsin’s healthiest place to live, work, raise a family and retire. For more information visit their Facebook page at or call Allison Vroman at 920.868.3660.