How to Keep a Food Diary

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How to Keep a Food Diary

What exactly is a food diary? A food diary is basically what is sounds like: a journal where you input everything that you eat and drink in a day. Most people use it to count calories and lose weight, but it can also be used to keep track of health problems. Keep on reading to learn how to keep a food diary.


a journal and a cup of coffee

You really don’t need a lot of things to make your food diary. You’ll need a journal, pen, calculator (optional), watch, and a weighing scale. You can decide whether you want to write everything down on a journal, or if you want to track it electronically.

Basic Information

notebook, pen, scribbles

Even if you’re only keeping a food dairy to be healthy, it’s also a good idea to write down your original body weight, height and other information you might need again in the future. Every time you plan on adding something to your diary, make sure you have the date, time, food item, calories, and the size of the meal written down as well.

Food & Drinks

table full of food

Not only should you track down everything you eat, you should also write down everything you drink. It doesn’t matter what type of drink it is, you should put it down just in case. Water isn’t necessary unless it affects your food diary in some way. Make sure that you calculate everything correctly; if you don’t, it could be problematic to go back and check certain tracked items.

Look for Reoccurring Symptoms

wooden puppet, stomach ache position

If you are keeping a food diary because of health problems, you’ll want to make sure to write down what happens after you eat. For example, if you sometimes have a stomachache after you eat, it might be an allergic reaction or you might be lactose intolerant. You need to write down in detail, what you ate and if you experienced any symptoms. If you can’t figure it out, bring your food diary to your doctor to have her/him examine in more detail.

Don't Forget Snacks!

snacks cookies muffins

It can be very easy to forget to track snacks that you have throughout the day. You may just grab a cookie on your way out or have a little muffin when you pass by the bakery. These are important to track as they can add up to unexpected amount of calories that you'll want to be aware of when you're keeping a food diary. Try to get into the habit of taking out your food journal every time you eat something. This will allow you to account for all necessary factors!

Besides Eating

feet propped up, watching tv

What are you doing while you’re eating? Are you watching the TV, working, walking, driving, etc.? It may also be a good idea to get rid of any bad habits that you have while you’re eating. For some people, watching TV while eating is actually good because it slows down their eating. Some people get bored while eating, so they start to eat really quickly and end up hardly chewing their food. Driving or working while eating can be a problem. Eating while driving is equally as dangerous as texting while driving, so avoid this at all cost. Some people don’t have time to eat, so they work and eat at the same time. This also isn't advised as you may eat too quickly.

Keeping a food diary can be tedious, especially for people that tend to snack a lot during the day. We always manage to forget tracking it down every so often; this is why you should make sure that your journal is by your side every minute of everyday.

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