What is a food diary?
Easy things first. A food diary is simply a log of what we eat and drink throughout the day. If we eat or drink it, we make a note of it for future reference.
Why do a food diary?
“I know what I’m eating and drinking! I’m there when I’m doing it!”
There are many reasons why you may want to keep a food diary. But for me, t he main ones include:
- Data collection – Before we can change something, we need to know what we are doing.
- Memory aid – No matter what people think, it has been shown time and again that people are terrible at remembering what they eat and drink.
- Seeing the big picture – Most people focus on a small detail they fixate on. Then they miss the elephant in the room, or the obvious big issue. A clear food diary helps us see what is important, and what can be ignored.
- It changes what we eat/drink – Most people will find that without doing anything else, when they start keeping a food diary, they start to eat better.
How to do a food diary?
As always, there are a few way to keep a food diary. You choose the way that works best for you.
Pen and paper.
Keep your pen and notebook handy and whenever you eat/drink something, jot it down, using the following format:
Or you could copy this template by clicking here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10tCDP8_aYhcMzBkri7i8bozVdkUQ7Sci/view
If you don’t like having bits of paper around that can get lost, you can do it on a spreadsheet on your computer if you like. But again, I would do it in a similar format as the pen and paper way, above.
There are plenty of phone apps out there that you can use as a food diary. I’ve not got any personal experience with them myself, but I’ve heard a lot of people praise the one called My Fitness Pal. Let me know if you have any other recommendations.
Almost everyone now has a phone with a camera. Simply take a picture of everything you eat/drink. This is probably the quickest, easiest way, but you do sacrifice a bit of the detail you get with the other methods.