Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary

Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary

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A food diary is a daily log of what you eat and drink each day. The diary helps you and your doctor understand your eating habits. It can help you realize what you consume. Once you know this, you can make changes to your diet to improve your weight.

Path to improved health

You should keep your food diary with you throughout the day. If you want to keep track on  paper, select a notebook that will fit in your purse, backpack, or pocket so you can carry it with you all the time. There are also many apps that can keep track of your food and drink. Ask your doctor for recommendations on the one best for you.

Once you have your diary, you should log several pieces of information in it each time you eat and drink. These include:

  • How much. List the amount of the food and drink you consume each time. This might be measured in volume (such as 1/2 cup), weight (such as 2 ounces), or the number of items (such as 12 chips).
  • What kind.Write down the type of food and drink. Be as specific as you can. Don’t forget to write down extras, such as toppings, sauces, dressings, or condiments. Examples include butter, ketchup, or sugar.
  • Keep track of the time of day you eat and drink.
  • Make note of where you eat and drink. If you’re at home, write down the room. For instance, at the dining room table, in the kitchen, or on the sofa. If you’re out, write down the name of the restaurant or if you’re in your car.
  • Who with.If you eat by yourself, write “alone.” If you’re with friends or family members, list them.
  • Activity:In this column, list any activities you do while you eat or drink. You could be working, watching TV, or playing a game.
  • Mood: You also should include how you feel when you eat and drink. Are you happy, sad, or bored? Your mood can impact what and when you eat or drink.


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