If you want to take your diet seriously, the first thing you'll need to learn to do is count your caloric intake. If you've got a smartphone there are a ton of apps that work for this. The one I use is called My Fitness Pal. They've also got a website at myfitnesspal.com. You can track your intake from there if you don't have a smart phone.
Next, you'll need to figure out your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). This is the amount of calories you'll burn in a 24 hour period of rest without physical activity. There are plenty of BRM calculators available online, and there's one on the site I listed above. Obviously your total caloric intake will need to be adjusted from your BMR to account for physical activity. Once you've got a target for your total caloric intake you should divide that total into 5-6 meals throughout the day. It's usually best to keep intake consistant (usually about every 3 hours) so you're metabolism is always firing.
After that you need to break down our intake to make sure you're getting the proper amount and proportions or Fats, Carbs, and Protein.
If you're into strength training and are trying to add muscle you'll want about 1.14 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass on your body. So to determine this amount you'll need to get a body composition done. There are some ways to do this from home (google it up my friend). As for the quality of your protein, try to keep to lean meats such as chicken and turkey breast often. Try to avoid cuts of beef and pork that have higher fat concentrations (you know, all the good cuts lol). Fish is very important as well, not just for the protein, but for the omega 3 fatty acids too. If you're strength training try to get about 25% of your total protein into a post workout shake(more on that later). You'll find that in between meal shakes are a great way to keep your metabolism running as well.
Carbs are pretty simple, try to get your carb intake to be roughly 40% of you're total daily intake. Stick to complex carbs (i.e. whole grains, russett and sweet potatos, brown rice, etc). You'll want to make sure that your total sugar intake is less than half of your total carb intake for the day. Stick to carbs that have a low glycemic index as they'll keep you full longer. Carbs that have a high glycemic index rating are best taken immediately following your workout with that post workout shake I mentioned earlier. I personally use 30 grams of dextrose with my post workout shake. Don't forget to get at minimum 25 grams of fiber in daily; and try to spread it out over at least three servings. And make sure to get 5 servings or fruits and/or veggies each day.
Fats can get a bit confusing for people. For starters, try to get fats to take up the remaining 30% or so of your total intake. There are good and bad fats. Saturated and Trans Fats are evil. In a typical diet you're going to encounter sat fats; but you should be able to avoid trans fats if you're eating sensibly. Try to keep sat fats to less than 20% of your total fat intake. The remainder should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Both of these fats; as long as they are not abused that is, are good for you. Some better sources for these include nuts, fish, olive oil, canola oil, and flax seed. Google it up, you'll learn more. You'll want to get about 30 grams of quality fats into your system along with that post workout shake. I usually add 2 tbsp of olive oil to my shake.
I know it's a lot to take in at once, but hopefully that gets you started in the right direction.
Last edited 6/28/11 7:16AM server time by bojangalz
Edit note/reason: n/a
And as El Guapo always says- "God speed, and party on. Whoap!"