Whether you’re interested in losing a few pounds, gaining a few, or staying on track keeping a food diary is a helpful way to count calories, nutrients, and reflect on your habits and the resulting moods or sicknesses you feel. If you like paper you can keep a notebook, buy a book, or if you’re digital keep track online.
Notebook – Keep a notebook diary of what you eat and do the math. If you’re looking for a chart to print out try this one from WebMD, or make your own in Excel. Either way keep track of each meal calories, and whatever categories you want to focus on. Also keep a note of how you feel after a meal or at the end of a day. This is also a great place to keep track of exercise.
Book – If you’re willing to spend money for your journal there are books for sale online and in book stores. Each are designed differently but to look at a few: this journal from The Biggest Loser, or this one from DietMinder, or another The Calorie King. I haven’t tried these but they all seem to get good reviews on Amazon. If you’re interested, be sure to shop around until you find what is the best fit.
Online & Phone App – In my opinion, this is the easiest way to track your food. I like to use the About Calorie Count website. It’s free and provides very helpful feedback. The website also pairs with a phone app which is useful at restaurants and on the go. Calorie Count provides a report of what nutrients you are getting enough of and also shows where your deficiencies lie. At the end of the day you will receive a grade. Never underestimate the power of a gold star, it works. This website is nice because it has a decent sized database of foods, products, and restaurants. Many other websites exist but I do not have experience with them, such as The Daily Plate, FitDay, or My Calorie Counter. Again, find what you’re comfortable with. If you’re interested in a exercise only log, try the Daily Mile.
After a month of writing down food, activities, and moods its easy to make connections and corrections. You may end up finding a food allergy you never knew you had or a new favorite food that make you feel like running a marathon. You may find that keeping a food diet is what keeps your diet on track. Best of luck with your food journal journey.
Do you keep a food journal or diary? What format do you use, is it online, on paper, or quick math in your head?