Trying to eat responsibly and willing to spend time at your computer in order to do it? The Department of Agriculture has a new Web site for you.
At the Interactive Healthy Eating Index on www.usda.gov/cnpp, you fill out a form detailing all the food you've consumed over the past 24 hours. (Presumably this includes the things you ate standing in front of the refrigerator at night when no one was looking.)
The site will quickly calculate how your reported consumption compares to USDA recommendations for servings of grain, vegetables, fruit, milk and meat products from the Food Pyramid, plus the total fat, the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It will also give a Healthy Eating Index score for the day, based on a possible total of 100 points.
Another click reveals how much of each important nutrient -- vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber -- you've eaten, as well as what percentage that is of a recommended diet.
The site is simple enough to navigate, but it may take a couple of visits to get the hang of estimating how much of any food you've eaten. And until you've developed a list of the foods you most often eat -- your list will appear on a little drop-down menu -- you'll need to conduct an annoying search to find each food you want to put on your list. But the site's bright display gives connsumers a sense of how they're doing on each food group.
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